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Musselman seniors face future with mixed emotions

May 30, 2004|By CANDICE BOSELY

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - As they filed in for their graduation ceremony Saturday, some members of Musselman High School's class of 2004 had grins splayed across their faces. Others bore unreadable expressions, while one young woman wiped away tears as she smiled.

Their facial expressions seemed to testify to their mixed emotions: excitement over leaving high school, trepidation about the future and sadness over the likelihood of never seeing some classmates and friends again.

Before commencement began for the school's 226 graduates, they gathered in classrooms at Shepherd University's Butcher Athletic Center and readied for the ceremony.

While waiting, Krystal Silver said she plans to attend International Beauty School in Martinsburg, W.Va.

"(I'm) a little nervous because it used to be I didn't have to worry about wanting or needing to go to school," she said, noting it was required.

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Now, though, the choice is hers.

Silver said she'll miss her friends.

"Because I know I'm not going to see half of them again," she said.

Kyle Kernan will be attending Fairmont (W.Va.) State College, where he plans to major in criminal justice and play football.

He said he's graduating with "a great class."

"Everybody cares about everybody," he said.

Ellen Albright barely could contain her enthusiasm.

"I love it. I'm so excited. It's like the best thing that's ever happened in my life," she said. "It's a goal I've always wanted to achieve."

Albright plans to attend James Rumsey Technical Institute in Hedgesville, W.Va., to become a nurse.

During the ceremony, students who addressed their classmates ended their speeches with a wish. They then ceremoniously tossed a coin into a decorative wooden well placed on the stage.

Valedictorian Jennifer Thompson said she hopes her classmates cherish their memories and makes their dreams a reality.

"My wish for the class of 2004 is for the courage to take that first step," she said.

Giving a history of the class, Annelyse Haislip said members won the school's cheer contest three years in a row and the spirit stick their junior year.

Enthusiastic and determined, members of the class transformed from bold freshmen who were unafraid of upperclassmen to unsure seniors.

"For the first time (during senior year), we were uncertain about what to do next," Haislip said.

Thompson said the class is a great one, as noted years ago by a teacher before the final rehearsal for the fifth-grade musical performance at Bunker Hill (W.Va.) Elementary School.

The teacher remarked that 1985 and 1986 must have been great years to have children because the group of students was so incredible, Thompson remembered.

"I have a gift for you all," began school principal Ronald Stephens. "My speech will be short."

He said he planned to keep it concise because he understood graduates were eager to receive their diplomas and meet with friends and family members.

"You're eager to get started on your plans for the future," he said, adding later at the end of his speech, "May the future be yours."

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