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Jefferson High School grads look to the future

June 06, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The highest-ranking West Virginian in the U.S. Air Force told Jefferson High School graduates Sunday to expect ups and downs in life.

And the way Gen. Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong sees it, the downs will not necessarily be of no value.

Foglesong told about 430 graduates during the 33rd commencement ceremony at Shepherd University's Butcher Center that their character will be determined by the way they deal with the low points.

"This education thing is not a destination. It's a journey. You're just starting. No matter what you do for the rest of your life ... you're still going to be learning," said Foglesong, commander of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

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The commencement was a lively event at times, like when students and bandmates James River Walch and Jared Paul Clark took the microphone for a musical performance. Clark picked up a guitar and Walch handled the vocals for their rendition of the Green Day song "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)."

The performance of the class song brought students to their feet in a burst of screams.

For their class gift to the school, the seniors bought a new Cougar mascot uniform. John Pugh, a junior, walked across the stage in the new outfit, showing it off for the crowd.

Foglesong concentrated on outlining character attributes which he believed are important for the students.

Preparation is important because success depends on how much time students put into it, Foglesong said.

Students need to learn respect, not just for others, but for themselves, Foglesong said.

That attribute is especially important because graduates must be mindful not to let others put artificial boundaries over their hopes and dreams, Foglesong said.

Students need to find a line of work that they enjoy and strive for integrity, Foglesong said.

"There is no gray area in integrity. Either you have it or you don't," Foglesong said.

Screams and maroon mortarboards went up from the students when they were announced as graduates of Jefferson High School.

As graduates filed out of the building, they contemplated a variety of options ahead of them.

Tekia McDowell said she was relieved graduation was over. McDowell said she wants to attend Shepherd University and study business, perhaps ending up in a human resources management job.

Heather Drewry, of Charles Town, W.Va., said she is not sure what's next.

"I'm so excited. I got a headache," Drewry said.

Ashley Vecchio has a 1-year-old daughter and said she is thinking about going to Hagerstown Business College. She said typing is one of her strong points.

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