Graduates look to future, parents to past

June 08, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

Mike and Gloria Stouffer were in the long line leading into Trojan Stadium to watch 565 seniors graduate from Chambersburg Area Senior High School. Their daughter, Brianna, 18, was among the graduates.

Thirty-one years ago, the Stouffers graduated from the Chambersburg school. High school sweethearts, the Stouffers have been married for 30 years, Gloria Stouffer said.

"I think the kids were more respectful when we were in high school," she said when asked about differences between the class of 1972 and 2003.


"The trees were smaller then," her husband said.

Their older daughter, Samantha, a 1998 Chambersburg graduate, was with her parents.

She said she and her sisters had some of the same teachers as their parents. Among them were Edwin Sponseller, now superintendent of the Chambersburg Area School District; Dennis L. Hillwig, retiring high school principal; and Linda Taylor.

More than 2,000 parents, relatives and friends of the graduates filled the stands in the outdoor stadium, according to an estimate by Chambersburg Patrolman Joe Johnson.

Calvin White's mother, Sheila Kilpatrick, was in the stands to see him get his diploma. Calvin is the first of Kilpatrick's three sons to graduate from high school.

"I'm very proud of him," she said. "It took a lot of work, but he made it and I survived it."

Calvin's two younger brothers are still in school.

"They're going to make it too," she said, "If they're in my house they're going to make it. Your children represent who you are."

Carmen McMullen was standing on the sidelines hoping to catch a glimpse of her son, Curtis, as he marched by with his classmates on their way to seats in the middle of the football field.

"He's talking about going into the Marines," she said. "I don't like it, but in a way I know if could be good for him."

Barry Purvis, newly named principal of Chambersburg High to succeed Hillwig, has been principal at Chambersburg Area Middle School for six years.

"It's going to be a different challenge," he said of his new job. "It's a bigger building, but I'm not one to shy away from challenge."

Challenge is a word that flows from the lips of most graduation speakers, and Friday's commencement was no exception.

The four student speakers Friday were Amber Quivers, senior class president; Joshua Baer, president of the student government; Mateusz Janicki, salutatorian; and Joshua Lake, valedictorian.

"We survived 13 years of studying and test taking," Quivers said. "Now it's our turn to fly."

She broke into tears when she spoke of friendships made in high school and told her classmates to thank each other for their friends.

Baer spoke of the impact and influences on the students' lives as they passed from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Janicki said graduation "is a special time in a person's life." He told the seniors it is now their responsibility to shape their own and lives and to look for new challenges and opportunities every day.

"Graduation is a door closing to the past," Lake said in his address. "Now we're going to become part of the greatest generation. The cycle goes on."

The Herald-Mail Articles