Smithsburg graduates 156

June 15, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

Smithsburg High School Valedictorian Colleen Corballis reflected Friday on the "dramatic transformation" class members have made over the last four years.

As freshmen, they entered the caste system that is called high school, fighting for seats on the bus, she said.

Eventually, they would get their driver's licenses and fight for the right to ride shotgun.

Senior year was the year for choices: Go to college or get a job. Stay close to home or move as far away as possible. Register to vote as a Democrat or Republican, she said.

"As if there aren't enough choices, people asked us what our major is," she said.

Corballis, who said she hasn't decided what she'll study in college, thanked parents, friends and teachers for their support over the years.


Corballis and Salutatorian Rebecca L. Surgeon read words of wisdom they had collected from their teachers.

One teacher advised them not to marry until 25 because of all the changes they will experience from now until then.

"Learn the contents of the box before you think outside of it," another teacher said.

"Keep your eye on the donut and not the hole," another said.

In her address, Rebecca told the class to keep their eyes on the prize as they go different directions in life to be farmers, doctors, lawyers and researchers.

"People say our generation hasn't accomplished anything. Well, now here's our chance," she said.

About 1,500 family members and friends attended the graduation ceremony at Hagerstown Community College's Athletic Recreation and Community Center.

Senior girls wore yellow robes and carried purple roses. Senior boys wore purple robes and white orchid corsages.

A group of seniors sang the class song, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye" by Boyz II Men.

Nearly one-third of the 156-member class received scholarships and awards totaling about $500,000, said Principal Jeffrey E. Stouffer.

Each recipient stood as his or her name was called and the name of the award was announced.

Stouffer, who has been with the class since they were in middle school, congratulated them on the four state athletic championships that earned Smithsburg the nickname "Titletown."

During the presentation of diplomas, family members were asked to stand and be recognized as their graduate's name was called.

Chamaine Gonzalez arrived two hours early so she'd have a good seat to see her oldest son graduate. Reinaldo Leroy Gonzalez plans to attend the community college.

"He's turning out to be quite some young man," she said.

A group of 16 friends and family members came to watch Richard C. Pryson receive his diploma.

"I don't know if I'm ready for it," said his mother, Jean Pryson. "It's a step in his life that's over, but he's moving on to good things."

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