Warriors march on

June 14, 2003|by TARA REILLY

Boonsboro High School salutatorian Brett M. Morrell joked Friday that he failed to meet his graduation goal: finishing third in his class so he wouldn't have to deliver a graduation speech.

On a more serious note, he urged his graduating classmates to use the knowledge they acquired in and out of the classroom while setting out on their own.

"We are about to make the biggest change of our lives," Morrell said. "We should all feel prepared, because we have all received the necessary training. ... Through it all, we will triumph."


More than 1,000 people packed the Athletic, Recreation and Community Center at Hagerstown Community College to see 193 students reach the culmination of their high school careers.

The class received $2.1 million in scholarships, assistant principal Kara L. Reed said.

Forty-seven members of the class graduated with highest honors, high honors or honors; 37 were in the National Honor Society; and nine received the State of Maryland Merit Scholarship Award.

Principal Robert Akers said the Class of 2003 "achieved like warriors" after rising to a challenge he gave them three years ago to increase the school's SAT scores. At that time, Boonsboro had the lowest SAT scores in the county, Akers said.

The class not only met the challenge but ended up with the highest SAT average in Washington County and was well above the state and national averages, he said.

The new graduates smacked around a beach ball and flung small plastic bottles of water through the air just minutes after receiving their diplomas.

But before the recessional out of the gymnasium led the class to the next stage in their lives, school officials and fellow graduates encouraged all in the class to work hard and keep their heads up along the journey.

"Wow. You made it," schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan told the graduates. "Today is your day. Capitalize on that. You worked hard for it. You earned it. You deserve it."

She said that whether the graduates go on to two-year, four-year or trade schools or enter the work force, she hopes they become lifelong learners.

Morgan and School Board member W. Edward Forrest presented the class with their diplomas.

"You all deserve to be called Boonsboro Warriors," Senior Class President Claire W. Houseknecht told the graduates, who saw the loss of two classmates - Samuel Franklin Bowers and Timothy Dagan Hannah - and witnessed two wars during their school years.

Houseknecht said she didn't expect members of her class to "become the next Mother Teresa," but she asked them all to try to make a difference in other people's lives.

"What we do today affects tomorrow, and what we do not do affects a lifetime," valedictorian Allison M. Robinson said. "Graduation is not a day of reflection. It is a day of transition. ... We begin our futures today."

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