Martinsburg graduates look to life after school


Kenneth Holton, one of 262 Martinsburg High School seniors who graduated Friday night, doesn't plan to move far from home.

"I love Martinsburg," he said.

Bedecked in cap and gown, he waited in a Shepherd College hallway with his fellow graduates for "Pomp and Circumstance" to lead them into the Butcher Athletic Center.

Holton said he plans to study sports therapy at Shepherd with the goal of returning to his high school alma mater to teach and coach baseball.

Megan Hairston said her goal is musical theater.

"I've been dancing since I was three," she said. "It's my passion. I put everything into it."

Her big hope is to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She checked out the school this year but was told she'd have to wait a year.


"They said to come back and audition when my braces come off," she said.

"I'm going to be a mommie," said Barbie Hartman.

She said she is one of 10 graduating senior girls who are pregnant.

Hartman wrote "Days Behind Us," the poem read at the commencement by Jessica A. Hawbaker, class historian.

The graduating class' two valedictorians, Cassie L. Czaja and Lauren E. Hunley, and salutatorian Chad E. Crosbie delivered addresses. Class President Ryan C. Banks and class Secretary Erin M. Merceruio also spoke.

Crosbie asked his fellow classmates if the 12 years they spent in public school was worth it.

"It certainly was," he said.

Czaja said graduating from high school is "a major change in everyone's life."

She said world events during their high school years - the Sept. 11 2001, terrorist attacks, the crash of the space shuttle Columbia, the war in Iraq - helped shape their lives.

Hunley, in her address, cited the likes of Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jesse Owens, Helen Keller and Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, as examples of how one person can make a difference.

"I may not be able to do everything, but I can do something," she said.

"Tomorrow our journey begins," she said.

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