The T. C. Williams High School Class of 2017 will graduate tomorrow, June 17, at EagleBank Arena at George Mason University. This year’s valedictorian is Emily Ann Kiernan and the salutatorian is John Asher Elkins.

Both Emily and Asher are lifelong Alexandrians who came up through George Mason Elementary School went on to attend George Washington Middle School and are now graduating from T. C. Williams.

Valedictorian Emily Kiernan (courtesy photo)

Emily is the president of the National Honor Society and the Latin Club and she is an officer for Math Honor Society. She was a winner of the Optimist Club essay contest and received the school’s academic excellence award for science last year and for English the year before. She is also involved with ‘It’s Academic,’ the world’s longest-running TV quiz show, and has earned a Girl Scout Silver Award. She also played volleyball for T.C. for five years and was this year’s team captain.

“T.C. being so large means that there are so many opportunities,” said Emily. “The reason that Asher and I were able to take almost 40 AP classes combined is because T.C. offers so many classes and they encourage you to take them. And they offer so many clubs and there are so many people that you can meet with. It really helps you grow and learn and it makes you more competitive with college applications.”

Emily will attend Amherst College, where she will study economics. She is considering starting her career in private consulting.

“We are lucky to have spent some of our most formative years at a school with such diversity and so many opportunities. Without T.C., I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I am sure that is true for most of you as well. Now, we’re all leaving T. C. and will instead be scattered all around the globe. Next year most of us will no longer find ourselves in communities as diverse and accepting as T.C., so I hope that we all carry on the valuable lessons we have learned over the past four years to wherever we end up,” Emily said.

Salutatorian Asher Elkins (courtesy photo)

Asher has participated in the German Club, the National German Honor Society, and attended the Governor’s School for German two years ago. He is a decorated crew athlete, who was named Washington Post All-Met First Team in boys rowing, Alexandria Sportsman Club’s Crew Athlete of the Year, and Oarsman of the Year in 2016. A special highlight of his senior year was his boat winning the State Championship this year.

“I have been working towards it for five years. Every year we would beat our rivals, but somehow they would beat us at states. This year, we won,” said Asher.

His outstanding five-year rowing career at T.C. got him recruited by the United States Naval Academy to row lightweight. Asher is considering a major in physics and a minor in German. He will be commissioned as a naval officer upon completion of his degree and will serve for an additional five years after graduation. He reports on June 29 for six weeks of Plebe Summer, a required training program for all incoming freshman to the Naval Academy.

“T.C. is a quilt of different people, all with unique backgrounds and experiences. This graduating class of 2017 is special because of the people in it. The amazingness of our class isn’t defined by our sports teams, our course offerings, or our clubs (although they are awesome), or even how attractive we are as a class (even though we are the most attractive class to ever come through T.C). The amazingness of our class is defined by the relationships that we’ve cultivated. The bonds that we forged during our four years at T.C. are important, and meaningful, because they represent the future,” Asher said.

The T. C. Williams graduation will be televised on ACPS-TV (cable channel 71 and online) on Saturday, June 17, starting at 9:30 a.m.

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