Warren seniors have spirit to spare

Warren County High School senior and class president Richard Vo talks recently about the speech he'll deliver to the class of 2016 at the school's commencement ceremony in the school gym Friday evening. Rachel Mahoney/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – When he delivers his speech at commencement on Friday, Warren County High School senior and class president Richard Vo will give his own words of encouragement to his fellow 2016 graduates.

Vo said the class of 2016 has proven their class spirit by winning the school’s spirit stick for all three of the school’s spirit events this year and last year – which he said is a pretty rare accomplishment.

“We have a huge turnout every single year for every event,” he said.

As class president, he said he’s tried to organize as many activities as he can and started the He-Man Volleyball event last year, which benefited the Front Royal Congregational Community Action Project. He said he’ll be leaving that event in the hands of his younger Student Government Association members to continue in the future.

Knowing that he was interested in biology and health sciences, Vo signed up for Principles of Biomedical Sciences, the first class in Blue Ridge Technical Center’s Project Lead The Way Biomedical Science program. He said his class was the first “guinea pig” class to go through the program and he continued through program’s third year class.

This year, he finished off his high school medical education with the Nurse Aide dual enrollment course, ending the class with an exam to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.

“Every class I’ve taken before definitely built up towards my senior year and then helped me with my nursing class, because everything was a foundation for me,” he said.

Over the summer, Vo said he’ll be working as a camp counselor at Dominion Health and Fitness and has applied to work at Heritage Hall Front Royal, where he said he’d be able to apply his CNA skills.

Continuing down the medical path, Vo said he’ll be going to Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg and seeking a degree in biology with a pre-med focus or a degree in nursing. He said he’s considered graduate school at VCU but favored EMU for his undergraduate studies because it felt more like a place he could call home.

“I’m not usually a city person, I like being in a small town – that’s why I chose EMU,” he said. “It’s so crowded in Richmond, I don’t know if I could do that.”

Vo said he’ll receive $2,500 in locally awarded scholarships and $14,000 in scholarship money from EMU if he can keep his grades up. He said he would eventually like to work as a physician at a hospital and possibly in the ER.

Vo will be graduating Warren County High with an advanced diploma and a Prudential Spirit Award, complete with a letter signed by President Barack Obama for his devotion to community service. A Presidential Volunteer Service Award will also recognize his outreach. He’s taken part in the school’s Key Club and said he may look to start a chapter of the collegiate Circle K club at EMU.

“Volunteering was a big thing for me in high school,” he said. “Just giving back to the community and putting a smile on people’s faces was huge.”

At EMU, Vo said he’ll also try out for the volleyball team and possibly join an intramural team. Having participated in theater throughout high school, he said he’ll be looking at a theater minor at the university.

“Here, theater was my passion,” he said. “That was the place that was home for me, so I want to continue that in college.”

Warren County High School will hold its commencement ceremony for 228 graduates at 6 p.m. Friday in the school gymnasium. Principal Ernestine Jordan will speak to graduates during the ceremony. The Top Male student, Top Female student and the winner of the Hugh D. Hite award will all receive scholarships.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com