Valedictorians, Salutatorians And Class Presidents: The Climb Atop The Class Of 2023


Editor's note: The original version of this story attributed the last comment to another student.  Douglas McCarren gave the quoted speech encouraging his peers.

After dozens of classes and one last ceremony, the class of 2023 for Broadneck and Severna Park high schools has officially graduated. With the toss of their caps and their diplomas in hand, the Bruins and Falcons are set to take their next steps in life.

Along with the graduation ceremonies came recognition of students with outstanding academic achievements. Valedictorians included Severna Park High School’s Elliot Gerig and Broadneck High School’s Douglas McCarren, who was also class president. The salutatorians were Heather Doyen and Margot Stott from Broadneck and Dennis Malikov from Severna Park. Other notable students included SPHS class president Annabelle “Tatum” Sale and this past year’s Anne Arundel County Public Schools student member of the Board of Education, Zachary McGrath from SPHS.

“I got to meet and know a lot of the administrators and teachers,” Sale said. “I was able to feel proud about all the things we accomplished and meet so many new people.”

Gerig and McCarren both achieved the highest GPA in their respective class, a notable feat considering both classes had near or more than 500 students. Nonetheless, the AP classes they took, grades they earned and their persistence determined their final standing. However, as McCarren explained, becoming valedictorian by the end of senior year felt like a distant goal when he was a younger student.

“The problem was I wasn’t going to be able to promote,” McCarren said in his graduation speech. “Two days before the school year was over, I had a 32 in English and was facing either summer school or to repeat eighth grade as a whole.”

He came into school for an extra day and made up enough assignments to move onto high school.

“And that’s when I vowed to myself to never be in a situation like this again,” he said. “When high school began, things changed, and I became an A student and accomplished so much in these last four years due to the environment and opportunities Broadneck High School has provided.”

For Gerig, the drive to learn ultimately set him up as valedictorian.

“I think I’ve run my high school dry for courses over the past four years because there is nothing I won’t hesitate to learn and discover,” Gerig said. “I am blessed to know several friends that are deeply passionate about their specific interests, but I seek knowledge in all fields.”

He plans to attend the University of Maryland to study mechanical engineering.

Broadneck’s salutatorians, Doyen and Stott, as well as Malikov for Severna Park, felt like they acquired many skills in the pursuit of academic success.

“I worked hard to achieve this honor and used many important skills such as managing time, balancing due dates and working hard,” Malikov said. “Although it may seem intimidating and scary at first, there are so many great new opportunities and activities to take advantage of, and [you should] try to branch yourself out as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake!”

Malikov will attend the University of Maryland to study mathematics.

Combined, the schools have had numerous accomplishments during the class of 2023’s time. With multiple state championships under their belts, impressive theater performances, dozens of fundraisers and getting through a pandemic, the class has many things to be proud of from their time in high school.

“It has been an amazing four years,” Malikov said.

In his graduation speech, McCarren gave a few words of advice to his fellow classmates for the future.

“As long as you don’t give up and continue with valiant effort to better yourself, you will find results,” he told his peers. “Remember, your journey is unique, and your potential knows no limit. Keep pushing forward, believe in yourself and watch as you surpass even your own expectations just as I did.”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here