By JESSICA STAMP
Valor Day on April 21 honors the high school’s namesake Matthew Vandegrift while reminding students of the origins of traditions and culture. Second to None award recipients were honored in the morning in the PAC before the all-school assembly. The state-winning band performed “America the Beautiful” after the choir sang the national anthem. The color guard kicked off the Valor Day ceremony by presenting the state and American flag.
Second to None award recipients sat in the middle of the main gym on Valor Day as an honor and example to students of role models within their own programs. These students were voted as exemplars by their peers. One of the Second to None student award recipients, senior Hudson Lilie talked about how he represents the attributes of Matthew Vandegrift and how he strives to be like him. He always just tried to help his team as a football player and help others. Athletic director and head football coach Drew Sanders talked about starting the football program and the traditions that would emphasize character and perspective in the school.
“When the players touch the sword on the way out to play, I told them to think about two things: who they play for and that it’s just a game,” Sanders said.
The speakers of the ceremony sat with Superintendent Dr. Bruce Gearing and board members. Matthew Vandegrift’s brother Barrett spoke about the example Matthew left for him and others.
“His generosity was God-given,” Vandegrift said. “But, this day is really about you, the students.”
Matthew’s childhood friend spoke about how he knew him growing up. He met “Matt” in the eighth grade when Vandegrift had already sprouted to 6 feet and his friend just broke 5 feet. With Vandegrift moving from Houston and he from California, they bonded over being “outsiders”.
When speaking at the conclusion of Valor Day 2023, Principal Charlie Little emphasized the importance of honoring the generations before that had no choice but to serve in the military and the current generation like Assistant Principal Jeremy Fry who volunteered to serve. Little’s father, also a veteran, had passed away the week before, and Little was reminded of his and other veterans’ “toughness”.
“Some say your generation doesn’t have grit or are lazy, and maybe sometimes you are, but you are actually really great kids here,” Little said.
As the last speaker, Little remarked on the developed traditions since he opened the high school such as the school song that he helped fashion before the school’s opening, noting that it’s special because it references Matthew Vandegrift – the school’s namesake – when other school songs don’t carry the same meaning.
“It could have been Four Points High School,” he said, “but then it wouldn’t have the meaning that it does.”
Jessica Stamp teaches journalism at Vandegrift and is the advisor for Vandegrift Voice.
Second to None
2023 VHS recipients
|Alexander (Anders) Bahrami|
|Elizabeth (Tibbie) Mustacchia|
|Elizabeth Eden (Beth)|
|Alondra Sanchez Ella Roseblade|