Graduation is 'happy' day for North, South


North and South Hagerstown high schools sent another class off into the world Friday morning.

North High, which featured a commencement address from Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, graduated 128 students. South High graduated 125 students.

"I just want to be happy. Isn't that what everyone wants?" said South High salutatorian Kari Belin, who plans to be a cardiologist.

South High Valedictorian Grace Thammasuvimol said she has wanted to be a pediatrician ever since fifth grade, when her cousin helped her over an illness in Thailand.


"(I want) to treat people and make everyone happy. To make me happy," she said.

Meanwhile, at North High, students and parents alike eagerly anticipated graduation.

Jan Cirincione, mother of valedictorian Anne Cirincione, said the entire family was very proud of her accomplishments. Cirincione felt similar joys last year when her son Rob was North High's valedictorian.

"It's not a record to have two ... I understand there was a family in Pennsylvania with four and both parents were also valedictorians," Jan Cirincione said.

For Edward Sweet, 18, Friday was his second graduation this week. Earlier he graduated from the Washington County Technical High School in pre-engineering. Sweet plans to enter computer science and engineering fields following four years of college.

"Monday I start a 40-hour a week internship at Mack Trucks," Sweet said.

Marcel Campbell has a very practical plan for his future.

"I want to be a chef - everybody has to eat," Campbell said.

Like Sweet, Campbell began his training at Washington County Technical High School, finishing the two-year culinary arts curriculum and then graduating earlier this week.

Brad Mentzer pondered the end of his high school years as more and more graduates assembled outside North High's auditorium, which rapidly filled with onlookers and video cameras.

"It's a new beginning for me," said Mentzer, who is heading off to Hagerstown Community College and then to Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W.Va., to study computer science or education. "It's a little scary."

South High graduates face similar challenges.

Mike Squibb hopes his future leads to a baseball diamond in a major league city. The 17-year-old southpaw was recently drafted in the 30th round by the Seattle Mariners.

It's a dream he has had "ever since I was in T-ball," he said.

Squibb said he plans to go to a two-year college for one or two years.

Chad Mullenix, 18, said he plans to take classes at HCC before transferring to Pace University in New York. He said he wants to pursue a career in film or theater.

"Of course I'm going to miss everyone here. But more or less, I'm excited. It's a new beginning. I'm a freshman in life," he said.

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