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Class of 2000

June 09, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

Their dolls and toys have been replaced with cars and jobs, and in some cases, children.

They no longer worry about school and sports, but about having enough money, their children's welfare and their futures.

They are a group of 27 youngsters The Herald-Mail started following in 1988 when they were the future

Class of 2000, kindergartners at Conococheague Elementary School just west of Hagerstown.

Eighteen of the students are expected to graduate this year, seven dropped out of school, two are in the 11th grade, three have had a child, one is married and at least two have had run-ins with the law.

Fifteen of the youths plan to attend college, business school or technical school, one wants to attend beauty school, another student wants to go to the Nashville Auto-Diesel College and another wants to join the Air Force after he graduates next year.

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In the area, eight of the classmates are students at Clear Spring High School. Others attend Williamsport High School, Washington County Technical High School, Frederick High School, Linganore High School and Mercersburg Academy.

Seventeen of them have replaced their red and white construction-paper mortarboards from their kindergarten graduation for the real thing this spring.

Another, Tonia Jacobs, 17, will graduate at the end of summer after catching up on course work following the birth of her son Jeremiah, now 18 months old. Tonia now lives in Wisconsin.

Two classmates have fallen behind a year. Of the seven who dropped out of school only one isn't working or studying for the GED.

There also are academic and athletic standouts.

Among them are Williamsport High's Sarah McDonald, 17, who had a busy senior year serving as student representative to the Washington County Board of Education and winning two state championships for pole vaulting.

Barry Smoot, 18, served as vice president of Clear Spring High's National Honor Society and captain of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Barry's Blazers teammate, Tony Mirra, 18, tied a school record with nine home runs this season.

Many of the youths are working for spending money or to support themselves.

Dennis H. Johnson Jr., 18, who got kicked out of school in December 1998, works the midnight shift driving a forklift for Paramount Transportation in Williamsport.

Josh Smith, 17, a student at the Technical High School, has already gotten a dose of working in the real world.

He was laid off from his job repairing trucks for a Boonsboro company last year after business slowed in the winter.

Three of the youngsters are getting firsthand parenting experience.

Jennifer Smith, 17, was finishing her senior year at the Washington County Family Center, which also provides parenting classes and day care for 5-month-old Cameron James. Smith and her new boyfriend are talking about getting married and she is moving into her first apartment this spring with Cameron.

Stephanie Trumpower, 18, is now Stephanie Neff after marrying Chris on March 17 and honeymooning in Ocean City, Md., for six days. Their son, Johnathan, is 7 months old.

Stephanie is excited and nervous about joining Chris in October after he finds out where he'll be stationed with the U.S. Army.

Jennifer Keeney, 17, who dated Barry Smoot in eighth grade, is engaged to boyfriend Jason Litten.

Their career aspirations have changed over the years and probably will continue to do so.

After telling The Herald-Mail in 1988 that she didn't want to be a doctor because it wouldn't be fun, Sarah McDonald now wants to be a pediatrician.

Inspired by his history teacher, Williamsport High's Harry Davis, D.J. Clinger, 18, will attend Shepherd College to become a high school history teacher.

Three of the guys have or want jobs working on cars or trucks.

Harry Carpenter, 17, works at Grease Monkey, Josh wants to own a truck repair shop one day and Justin Wigfield, 17, wants to design car parts.

Others are considering careers in computers or health fields.

Autumn Kemp, 17, and Catherine Gilchrist, 17, want to study computer programming.

Jon Hepler, 17, who now lives in Mayport, Pa., can't make up his mind between computers and a future in pharmaceuticals.

Tonia wants to be a registered nurse, Jennifer Keeney a dental assistant and Kristin DeBold, 17, a medical secretary.

Shanna Corbin, 18, who now lives in Mount Airy, Md., is still considering the health field, but for now wants to study biology.

"I'm probably going to change my mind 5,000 times," Corbin said.

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