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Waynesboro pupils want graduation vote investigated

April 09, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Some 156 Waynesboro Area Senior High School seniors presented a petition to the Waynesboro School Board Wednesday seeking an investigation into irregularities in a classwide vote that changed the site of their June graduation.

The seniors voted March 20 to move their graduation exercises from their high school gym to Knott Auditorium at Mount Saint Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md.

The change in location was prompted by stifling conditions at last year's graduation that forced more than 130 spectators to be taken out of the gym because of the heat.

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The vote to go to Mount Saint Mary's passed by a slim margin.

It will cost the Waynesboro School District $1,200 to hold the commencement there.

Katy Hatfield, a senior and the student representative on the school board, told the board that some of the 294 members of the class of 2003 were denied their vote because they were absent or tardy on the day the voting took place. Some who were absent were allowed to vote the next day, she said.

She also said the counting of the votes began before all of the seniors had a chance to cast ballots.

Hatfield said 63 percent of the seniors who signed the petition want another vote.

"The numbers prove that the students are not happy with the way things were done," Hatfield said.

She said Jami Verderosa, principal of the high school, turned down the request for another vote.

The seniors want a new election to be in the school auditorium and want the votes counted by independent volunteers, Hatfield said.

"Some teachers have volunteered to count the ballots," she said.

Michael McDonald, the junior class representative on the school board, said there is a general feeling of discontent among all students over the way the voting was handled.

School Board President Larry Glenn said the board would take the seniors' request "under advisement."

Board Member Steve Kulla asked that an independent committee be appointed to check into the charges of irregularities "so it won't be swept under the table."

Kulla, board member Stan Barkdoll and Schools Superintendent Barry Dallara were appointed to the committee. They will report back to the board Tuesday.

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