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Never a dull moment for North High student

February 10, 2001|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Never a dull moment for North High student



This is the first in a weeklong series of stories profiling members of the black community making a contribution in the Tri-State area.

As Ashley Mason plots her future, her dream career comes first.

She wants to have her own law firm, maybe defend accused criminals who can't afford an attorney.

"I can argue, I'm smart, and I'm determined to get the truth out," Mason said, "so why not do it?"

Mason, 18, a senior at North Hagerstown High School, likes typical teenage pastimes - talking on her cell phone, swapping fashion tips with friends, earning spending money for clothes.

Her tightly-packed schedule also includes student government, church and sports.

Basketball consumes her winters. She has been a varsity starter for five years, including four at Broadfording Christian Academy in Hagerstown.

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This is Mason's first - and last - year at North High. She transferred from Broadfording to be with childhood friends.

It wasn't easy giving up small classes and a state championship team, but North High teammates Amanda McGhee, Autumn Parson and Marquiela Gantt "make me feel really welcome," Mason said. "They're, like, the best friends anybody could have."

Mason, McGhee and Gantt are seniors, ready for college.

"We'll probably separate and go to different schools," Mason said, "but we have a close-bond friendship."

Mason is considering Towson University near Baltimore, where her stepfather, Steve Martin, went to school.

"I want to (enroll in) pre-law, so I don't think that basketball will fit in," she said.

Hagerstown Community College, recommended by her Broadfording coach, is a possibility, too. Mason's mother, Kim Martin, is pregnant, and Mason wants to be close enough to see her new brother grow up.

Mason is following her interests at North High.

As the student government representative for her first-period class, she helped rally peers to contribute to a food drive.

She's part of the school's fashion club, which talks about colors and trends and holds a clothing drive for the needy.

Mason, who's almost 5-foot-10, plans to sashay down the runway when the group holds a prom fashion show at the Valley Mall.

North High Principal Dave Reeder said Mason has been "a pleasure" around school, doing well academically and athletically.

"She's very articulate, very respectful ... very open and very friendly," Reeder said.

Mason's involvement in the youth group at Fairview Chapel in Waynesboro, Pa., where her stepfather's father is the pastor, has waned. But when she was active, about two years ago, she went to Kentucky to help rebuild a school damaged by a flood.

Her group painted, cleaned, picked up trash and cut weeds.

"Anything that was dirty and grimy, we did it," Mason said.

Last summer, Mason held down two jobs at the same time - one at a coffee shop, one at a clothing store. At times, she put in at least 60 hours a week, she said.

When basketball season is over, she'll work part time.

Through all of her choices, she's glad her parents are watching out for her.

Her mother and stepfather "tell me to buckle down," Mason said. "They stay on me for even little stuff."

If they think their messages aren't being absorbed, Mason wants them to know: "I'm listening."

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