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Students awarded diplomas at Waynesboro graduation

June 09, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Silly String and beach balls flew into the air amid the screams and yells of 245 jubilant Waynesboro Area Senior High School graduates as they turned their tassels and prepared to march off their high school athletic field Tuesday.

The commencement exercise went off without a hitch under a soft late spring evening sky as the annual rite of passage once again was held on the students' own high school grounds.

The 2003 graduation was moved to Knott Arena at Mount Saint Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md., but lobbying by seniors and parents convinced the Waynesboro Area School Board to keep it at home this year.

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Schools Superintendent Barry Dallara told the grads they were now on their own.

"From the time you were born, every time something or someone hurt you or overwhelmed you, your parents were there wishing they could take the pain for you. You will never see that kind of kindness and love again," he said.

Dallara said graduation marked not the end, but the beginning of their lives, and "the lives of your parents, too." He urged the seniors to extend the love and kindness that has been extended to them to others throughout their own lives.

The class of 2004 has earned $2 million in scholarships and awards, said Leigh A. Trei, class secretary.

Jami L. Verderosa, Waynesboro High School principal, said 190 graduating seniors were recognized in five honor categories including enrollment in the National Honor Society, the National Art Honor Society, for having a grade-point average of 3.2, for maintaining an absentee rate of 1 percent and for membership in the Future Business Leaders group.

Class President Michael R. McDonald and valedictorians Martin R. Goldman and Jena R. Frey offered reflections on their school journeys.

In his remarks, McDonald said the class, through 13 years of school beginning in kindergarten, has been subjected to the miracle of life, from boyfriend/girlfriend problems, love and hate relationships with teachers and "the rise and fall from childhood through adolescence.

"Now we face the future," he said. "This is the ending and the beginning. Seize the day."

While many graduates deride their school and town, there's no denying that the senior class has grown into a capable force to take on the world, he said.

"We go forward as members of this school, this class," he said. "This cap and gown is your achievement. You have arrived here and from here you will depart. This is our day, our time. Grasp it."

Goldman said the diploma they receive "holds great power. Now you will be more on your own. It's up to you what you do with it."

Frey officially accepted the diplomas for the graduating class with a brief statement that was followed by the rush of excitement that overcame the class on its last day of high school.

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