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Graduates remember and reflect

June 11, 2004|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

There were 88 chairs on the stage at Clear Spring High School's auditorium, but only 87 graduates to fill them.

One was for class member Kelly Diane Peacher, who was killed in a car accident last year. On her chair was an arrangement of flowers.

Together, the class of 2004 survived Peacher's tragic death, co-valedictorian Tara Brown said.

A member of Future Farmers of America and the yearbook staff at the school, Peacher was killed in a car accident in Allegany County, Md., on June 14, 2003.

Five graduates received scholarships in Peacher's name, with the class earning a total of nearly $1.2 million in awards, Assistant Principal Paul Bisher said.

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Before the ceremony, senior Kristy Jenkins said she would also be thinking of someone who passed away, her father who died in 1999.

She said she was happy that the rest of her family could be there, even though her father couldn't.

"He's here," her friend Amber Krenzer said, giving her a hug.

"He's in my heart," Jenkins said.

Senior Amanda Lady clutched a couple of tissues to take with her when she walked on stage for the ceremony.

"Seeing everybody, I think I'm going to lose it," she said.

Class President Benjamin S. Sigler told his fellow graduates to not waste any time embarking on their life's journey.

"Our future is no longer rapidly approaching. It's here and now," he said.

Guest speaker Donald McCammon, a retired Clear Spring High School social studies teacher, brought a touch of humor to the otherwise reflective ceremony.

He told the graduates to learn a life lesson from his adult son - live with your parents as long as possible.

McCammon said his son has been asking him for advice recently, which is something he never did in high school.

"I was as embarrassing, unsophisticated and uncool as all of your parents are," he said.

McCammon had two other pieces of advice.

First, get to know your neighborhood gas station attendant because you might need him some cold morning when your car doesn't start.

Second, fall in love with and marry your best friend.

"Behind every successful husband is a good wife ... And an amazed mother-in-law," he said.

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