Family Key to Robinson Graduates

Isabel Hanewicz, RHStoday Editor-In-Chief

As senior Setten Richardson crossed the stage to receive his diploma, a familiar face looked back: that of his mother, Jill Burns. Burns, a journalism teacher at Robinson, got to give Richardson his diploma Monday night.

But it was not the first time the two shared the stage.

Eighteen years prior, Burns, also a Robinson graduate, walked across the stage to receive her diploma, eight months pregnant with Richardson at the time.

Richardson, who plans on going to UCF in the fall, said he will miss going to a school with so many family ties.

“At first not so much because if I fell behind in schoolwork they’d be like ‘Hey, Mrs. Burns, you have to get on your son’ and then my mother would get on my case,” he said. “But it was nice because they were more friendly then a lot of teachers would be. They had some connections since a lot of them like Mrs.DiFederico actually taught my mother as well.”

Robinson is a close knit school- about 15% of the graduating class, based on a survey of students at graduation, had a parent who was a Robinson graduate.

” [Robinson] is very communal. From what I heard about other schools and kids that have come from other schools, they say that Robinson is a lot more friendly and there’s more people to help you,” said Richardson.”I think there are a lot of people here who help each other.”

Monday was not the first time participating in a graduation for senior Corey Varnedoe, either. Varnedoe, whose parents are both Robinson graduates, received his diploma three days earlier in a private ceremony at his home so his father, Ed, who has terminal brain cancer and could not attend Monday’s ceremony, could see his youngest son graduate. Varnedoe graduated for the second time Monday with the rest of his peers.

“I’m taking it day by day. I just think every day is going to be a good day and let God take his course,” said Varnedoe. “The at home [graduation] was kind of a family thing, so I feel like it was more special than [graduation] but [graduation] is obviously a big special moment in my life. It’s definitely different not having the family not here, but they already saw me graduate at home, so that’s all that mattered to me.”

Traditional Valedictorian: Aaliyah Gordon

Traditional Salutatorian: Ross Brown

IB Valedictorian: Kevin Mutchnick

IB Salutatorian: Isha Sharma