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Graduates, families share in celebration

June 08, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Students were not the only ones who should celebrate Friday night's graduation of 196 Greencastle-Antrim High School students, the school district superintendent said during the ceremony: Friends and family also should be joyous.

The support of family and friends was essential in students making it through the public school system, said P. Duff Rearick, superintendent of the Greencastle-Antrim School District.

But he offered a cautionary note to the estimated 1,000 people in the audience at the school's stadium.

"They are not going away and they are not going to stop spending your money," he said.

The student speakers during the ceremony at the school's stadium thanked family and friends, but mostly they spoke to those with whom they were about to graduate. Their comments ranged from advice and suggestions to admissions of nervousness.

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"We finally made it!" Valedictorian Amy Suzanne Haldeman said. "But even last night my insides were turning outside."

Haldeman used stories by Walt Disney, who himself never graduated from high school, to give suggestions to her class

"Let's persevere and work hard. But not with weary hearts," she said. She encouraged classmates to "whistle while you work."

"We all have lots of memories ... some painful, some joyous," she said. She urged her classmates not to forget those memories.

Between kindergarten and graduation, memories and bonds were formed which should be treasured, Salutatorian Laura Catherine Reeder said.

"And always recall the time you spent in Greencastle without regret," she said

"We have ridiculed each other with nicknames. ... We have showered each other with compliments," Salutatorian Jillian Louise Leedy said.

As the graduates move on in their lives, she offered three pieces of advice:

n "Never remain neutral. Take a stand on what you believe."

n "Display mercy and compassion."

n Strive to meet personal ambitions.

Salutorian Maria Annette Metzler suggested the graduates challenge themselves.

"Smile often and listen more than you speak," she said.

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