Loud shouts of names and applause rang through the Patriot Center at George Mason University as parents, friends and family members watched their high school senior and hundreds of their classmates graduate from West Springfield High School Friday.
"The character of this class is incredible," remarked WSHS Principal Mark Greenfelder in his introduction during the commencement ceremony.
More than 500 seniors received diplomas, marking the end of a 12-year journey and closing out one chapter of their life before beginning another.
As is standard at graduations, teachers and guest speakers passed along words of wisdom to the graduating class:
"Find your element and be relentless in pursuing it," said Greenfelder. "If you love what you do and you stay true to yourself, you will make a difference in this world."
"Don't let others limit you. Be all you can be, be all you want to be, and be the best you possible," said Becky Brandt, assistant principal and advisor for the WSHS Class of 2013.
"Agree to work hard and learn to recognize your strengths and weaknesses," said Keynote Speaker Dr. Cleve Francis, cardiologist and owner of Mount Vernon Cardiology Associates.
While the occassion was a happy one for the graduates, WSHS faculty and staff, it was also bittersweet as the Class of 2013 celebrated without a fellow Spartan.
Prior to the presentation of diplomas, West Springfield took a moment to recognize Jordan Trunfio, who passed away on June 6 after battling brain cancer for more than a year.
- Read more on Jordan Trunfio.
Trunfio was the first senior from his class to graduate, having been awarded his diploma on June 3, just days before his death.
The graduates rose out of their seats and applauded loudly for their classmate before taking the stage to follow Trunfio's lead and officially graduate.
Senior Anna Goodwin, who delivered the student speech during the commencement ceremony, called Trunfio a role model who "chose bravery, perseverance and above all, the indomitable strength" of a Spartan.
"Despite illness, Jordan possessed a strength we can all admire. Even after his brain cancer was diagnosed over a year ago, Jordan maintained a positive attitude," said Goodwin.
Watch Goodwin's full comments about Trunfio in TJ video player at right.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Trunfio will be at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, located at 8800 Braddock Road in Annandale.