South Hagerstown graduates 166

June 15, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

The 166 students who graduated from South Hagerstown High School on Friday are about to enter an unfamiliar new world but they will survive with the help of friends and family, salutatorian Shreyas R. Patel said.

When it comes to dealing with the unfamiliar, Shreyas said at the Class of 2002 graduation ceremony, he knows of what he speaks.

He moved from India to Washington County in 1998, one week before starting his freshman year. His vocabulary at the time was limited mostly to "yes" and "no."


Shreyas graduated with a 4.13 grade point average. He plans to attend the University of Maryland, majoring in chemistry, and aspires to be a pharmacist, he said.

He learned to speak English and adjust to life by talking to other students, watching television, reading newspapers and attending English as a Second Language classes, he said.

Valedictorian Cara M. Crouse said the Class of 2002 went through a lot together, including school renovations and cheering on the sports teams "with a lot of green and white face paint."

She said the work was never too difficult and the teachers were always understanding.

"June 14, 2002, is just an average day, but to many of us it is a day that we, finally, after 18 years, leave high school and join the adult world," Cara said.

Hundreds of the graduates' friends and family members attended the event in the school gymnasium, many holding cameras, smiling, crying and waving.

Senior counselor Budd A. Moore said graduates have received $973,588 in scholarship funds.

"As you leave here as graduates, remember your life is just beginning," Washington County Board of Education President W. Edward Forrest said.

He encouraged the graduates to "take a chance with yourself ... push the envelope."

Principal Michael Shockey encouraged the students to take care of each other.

"Spread your love, your compassion and your dignity across the world," he said. "You will be the greatest generation."

Before the ceremony, Bradley Howell said he was excited to be graduating.

"It feels good," he said. "I get a big feeling of accomplishment."

He plans to attend Frostburg State University, majoring in computer science. Bradley graduated with a certificate of merit, which requires a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.

Wayne Hawks said he hopes to get a better job now that he has graduated. He works at a Roy Rogers Restaurant in Hagerstown.

"I'm tired of dealing with grease," he said.

"I think it is very exciting," Elizabeth Thammasuvimol said of graduating. "It opens new doors to graduates."

She graduated with a certificate of merit.

Elizabeth plans to attend the University of Maryland, College Park, to study biology, she said.

"I think it is a large stepping stone," said Natalie Dziadon, who graduated with a certificate of merit. "I feel like we are going out in the real world and into a life of responsibility."

Natalie plans to attend Hagerstown Commuinty College and later Frostburg State University to study elementary education.

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