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Forever Falcons — Fuqua School’s Class of 2020

Congratulations to the Fuqua School class of 2020 – the class that refused to let the COVID-19 pandemic interfere with their learning and preparation for college and career.

John Melton

Scholars, artists, athletes, leaders, and tradesmen who possess a diversity of interests and an abundance of talent make up this group of 31 students who hail from seven counties in Southside Virginia. Each of whom has a unique combination of interests and abilities, and all of whom have persevered through an uncertain fourth quarter and are living the statement, “Look at us now” – the tagline for this year’s Peregrine, the 27th edition of the Fuqua School yearbook.

Thirty-one (100%) of these graduates will go on to college. These college-bound graduates received $3.5 million in scholarships and they will use $1.5 million in academic scholarships or an average of approximately $50,000 in financial assistance for each senior – not too shabby.

Division II and III college athletes make up the ranks of this class along with talented musicians, writers, public speakers, thespians, aviators, mechanics, gamers, future linesmen, public servants and engineers. It is truly a diverse and talented group of young women and men who will be studying as far west as the University of Washington, as far south as Coastal Carolina, and as close to home as James Madison University, Virginia Tech, and Hampden-Sydney College.

Whether cheering from “The Nest” during varsity basketball games, “digging pink” during a varsity volleyball game to support those affected by breast cancer, or collecting supplies for COVID-19 pandemic relief to be donated to local first responders, this group of seniors has demonstrated their commitment to the Fuqua family and their compassion and support for the community beyond our campus.

They have witnessed the creation of a new STEAM lab, the installation of new bleachers in the gym, a surge in mobile technology across campus, and a campus-wide facilities improvement project focused on increasing energy efficiency.

During their junior and senior years these curious and ambitious students had the opportunity to take classes at Hampden-Sydney College, Longwood University, and Southside Virginia Community College. Many completed externships with doctors, attorneys, veterinarians, tradesmen, teachers, physical therapists, and farmers to learn more about and experience, firsthand, careers they were considering entering after college.

The pinnacle of bonding for this class occurred during the five-day, four-night class trip to New York City where the group attended five Broadway shows, a professional hockey game, and saw all the major sites in New York from the 9/11 Memorial to the Statue of Liberty. Perspectives were broadened, differences were embraced, and the class came together in a way that can only be achieved through an incredible shared experience.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, these students and their teachers, along with the teachers and students in all grades, pivoted into a robust distance-learning program. These seniors set the example for how a private school like Fuqua is exceptionally equipped to continue delivering meaningful teaching and learning in the face of the most challenging circumstances. Distance learning continued through the end of the school year, and our seniors are headed to college with the strong foundation traditionally provided at Fuqua School.

The best possible education is an investment that will last a lifetime. It can never be taken away. It opens minds. It opens doors. It adds perspective, context, and understanding to every experience and helps young people grow into compassionate adults who can see beyond themselves and pursue a life that truly adds value to the world. The parents of these graduates understand this truth and they have made sacrifices to provide this opportunity for our graduates – thank you.

The professional skill and love of learning shared so generously by the Fuqua School faculty, the commitment and dedication of the school staff, and the love and support of parents were all instrumental in propelling these graduates along the path of learning and growth so they may now pursue their boundless individual potential in the journey of life. Their futures are bright indeed.

I have enjoyed my time with these exceptional young men and women, and what lies ahead for them brings to mind a belief that has been expressed by many scholars including Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. Du Bois and Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?….. We were born to express the glory of God that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.”

Class of 2020, let your light shine!

John Melton

Head of School

Fuqua School