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South watches 152 graduate

June 14, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

The three students who spoke at South Hagerstown High's graduation Friday made a pact with each other. Their speeches would be kept secret until the ceremony.

"It makes it more special that way," said Salutatorian Alaina J. Rowe, 18.

Rowe based her talk on a book of poetry called "Something to Someone."

No one can determine who you are but yourself. The challenge is discovering and developing your talents, she said.

As the 152 graduates head out into the world, she asked them to remember that success is not determined by what kind of car you drive, what your job is or how much money you make.

"Success is measured by your happiness," she said.

Co-valedictorian Valerie A. Schmidt, 18, spoke about treasuring the small miracles of life before it's too late.

As she was watching a pot of coffee brewing recently, Schmidt said, she realized she didn't appreciate the small moments that made up her high school career until she saw the end coming.

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"Life is like a cup of coffee. You never notice it brewing until it's almost over," she said. "Don't wait 'til the end to smell the coffee."

Throughout their four-year high school journeys, the members of the class of 2003 have overcome many obstacles. Students have lost family members, struggled with difficult classes and coped with the threat of terrorism and war. They have forged close bonds with friends in the process, she said.

"If you remember nothing else from this day, remember how you felt," she said.

Co-valedictorian Kathleen A. Fawcett, 17, said the class members are in two places at once as they stand at the brink of adulthood.

Fawcett spoke about the lessons she learned from her parents, her teachers, her friends and her family.

Some of the lessons were serious. Her sister, for example, taught her the meaning of unconditional love, she said.

Others were more whimsical. She learned her grandparents will never beat her in "Trivial Pursuit," she said.

Friday was the last day the class will be together before they head out and go their separate paths, she said.

"Always remember, there's no place like home," she said.

About 1,500 people packed the recently renovated school gymnasium, which was used for graduation for the first time last year.

Senior Counselor Budd A. Moore read the names of dozens of students who received scholarships and awards. The class had been offered $651,324 in scholarships and grants as of Friday, he said.

Eric W. Hammond Jr., senior class president, presented the class gift to the school, a row of trees planted in front of the school.

Before the ceremony began, Assistant Principal Tambra L. LeMoine helped the students line up for the processional.

"Fix me up. Is this straight?" Jamie Lawrence asked her. She adjusted his blue National Honor Society sash.

Lawrence, 17, said he was excited for graduation because his entire family, including two older brothers, would be getting together.

"It's very rare we all get together," he said.

Lawrence said he plans to work full-time at Target this summer to earn enough money for a car. In the fall, he'll go to Hagerstown Community College. Eventually, he wants to be a math teacher.

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