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HCC Class of 2000 ready for future endeavors

May 20, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

Martin Shurnitski's impaired vision didn't cause the Hagerstown resident to lose sight of his goal. He graduated with honors Saturday from Hagerstown Community College.

"It feels great," said Shurnitski, 46, who left a successful retail career to pursue a degree in sociology after being diagnosed with a degenerative retinal disease.

"I think if you are determined to do something, regardless of the circumstances, you can accomplish it," he said.

Many of the more than 300 Class of 2000 graduates at HCC shared Shurnitski's sense of achievement at the 53rd commencement ceremony Saturday in the campus's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

Rohrersville resident Darlene Kane said she always wanted to be a nurse. After her divorce, she returned to school to realize her dream.

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"It feels wonderful," said Kane, 46. "I know all things are attainable if you want it bad enough."

Business administration major Cindy Clements agreed. Her graduation with high honors was the climax of five years spent juggling classes, parenthood and a full-time job.

"I can't believe it's finally here," said Clements, 36, of Hagerstown.

HCC president Norman P. Shea commended the community for supporting higher education and the graduates on their achievement.

"Hats off and congratulations to the Class of 2000 at HCC," echoed County Commissioner John L. Schnebly. The graduates' dedication to higher learning is the foundation for their future success, he said.

Faculty Assembly Chairman Vaughn D. Crowl urged the scholars to serve others, stand by their convictions, establish clear future goals and persist to attain them.

Some HCC graduates said their associates degrees were the first rung on the ladder to more advanced diplomas.

"I'm looking forward to getting on with more school," said Nathan Cross, 20, of Hagerstown, who earned a general studies degree. "It's just like another step- a plateau."

Administration of justice major Adam Greivell anticipated another five to six years of schooling to obtain his law degree. Greivell, 20, of Hagerstown, graduated with high honors and earned a full-scholarship to the University of Baltimore, he said.

Students such as Greivell are "what it's all about" to Professor Steve Zabetakis of HCC's administration of justice program. Zabetakis taught Greivell's mother.

"I'm very proud of that," he said.

Saturday's ceremony was bittersweet for the 25-year HCC veteran, who is retiring. Zabetakis said he will miss the students and staff at the community college.

Some graduates shared his sentiments.

"It's been such a large part of my life," Clements said. "I've been doing it for so long."

The faculty has offered "tremendous support," Kane said. "You couldn't ask for a better team."

"All in all, it's been really great," Shurnitski said.

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