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North Hagerstown graduates 257

June 15, 2002|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

The auditorium at North Hagerstown High School was packed with pride amid a sometimes raucous atmosphere Friday morning as 257 seniors were presented diplomas.

Greencastle, Pa., resident Cy Anderson arrived early to get a good seat to watch his first child graduate.

"Cody's had a long four years, and this is probably his biggest accomplishment right now because things were touch and go, and he really came back and proved himself with this graduation," Anderson said.

Cody lives with his mother, Theresa Nave, in Washington County.

Anderson said that along with the birth of Cody, 18, and daughter Summer, 16, the graduation was one of his "better days."

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After graduation, Cody was going to the ocean for a week and then returning to a job he has lined up, Anderson said.

Elizabeth Stone, 57, of Hagerstown, said she was excited and proud to watch her grandson, Kendall Stoner Jr., graduate.

"I've raised him since he was 18 months old, so he's like my child," Stone said.

Stoner will attend Hagerstown Community College in the fall to study technology and business management, she said.

Of the 257 graduates, 175 plan to attend college, 10 will enter the military and two will start apprenticeships, guidance counselor Robert Lochbaum announced. The others plan to enter the work force.

Valedictorian Allison M. Oroski and salutatorian Arti B. Patel advised their classmates to take advantage of opportunities and cherish every moment of life.

Oroski told her classmates, "It takes courage to grow up and become who you are."

She encouraged them to "make the most of life" and not let anyone discourage them from pursuing their dreams.

"I have no doubt we will make a lasting impact," Oroski said.

Oroski asked Principal Dave Reeder to lead the class in its last "color shout."

The seniors, who had been sitting on-stage with the boys wearing red robes and the girls wearing white robes, assisted Reeder in demonstrating the shout and accompanying hip wiggle.

Then Reeder asked the audience to stand and join in.

"What about! What about! What about our color shout!" they shouted. Then they shook their fists in the air while chanting "Red! Red! Red! Red!" and wiggled their hips when chanting more quickly, "White! White! White! White! White! White! White!"

Earlier, Reeder showed off the stuffed animals and toys the senior class gave him. His gifts included an electronic rat and a live rat named Hubster. North High's teams are called the Hubs.

Reeder held up Hubster in a cage to show the audience, then joked he had escaped up an aisle.

On a more serious note, Student Government Association President Nathan Kennedy announced the Class of 2002's gift to North High would be four dogwood trees to "represent new life" and "demonstrate the American spirit" after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The trees symbolize the two World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon, the plane that crashed near Somerset, Pa., and those who died in the attacks, Kennedy said.

A few minutes later Reeder made a presentation to Kennedy, announcing he was the recipient of this year's Principal's Award. The award is given to the student who has contributed greatly to the school by helping administrators and who proved to be responsible and reliable.

Kennedy, who "beat" cancer, demonstrated he was knowledgeable about life, living, serving others and being a part of the community, Reeder said.

Before the diplomas were handed out, 67 seniors who were offered $2.6 million in scholarships stood as their names were announced.

Some parents complained because they had to plead for seats in the back while others were reserving several empty seats.

With the large auditorium packed, about 100 people watched the graduation on large screen televisions in the cafeteria.

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