237 earn diplomas at Waynesboro

June 08, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The hand-written message on the rear window of the big red Ford sedan parked on East Second Street Tuesday evening capsulized it.

"Proud parents of Carrie 2005," was emblazoned on the rear window.

"Proud Papa" was scribbled on the rear passenger's widow. Across the seat the message read, "Proud Mom."

A short way down the street, through the rear parking lot of Waynesboro Area Senior High School, down the hill to the Charles A. "Rip" Engle Sports Complex athletic field, 237 members of the Waynesboro class of 2005 were getting their diplomas.

It was one of the smallest graduating classes in recent school history, Superintendent of Schools Barry Dallara said shortly before the seniors marched out of the school to take their places on the field before bleachers full of parents, relatives and friends.


Following WASHS tradition, the seniors were led onto the field by the officers of the junior class.

"Last year, 256 graduated," Dallara said. "Next year, it will be bigger."

Larry Glenn, president of the Waynesboro Area School Board, waited in line with Dallara and his fellow board members for the signal to enter the field.

"This is my ninth graduation," he said.

Glenn handed the seniors their diplomas Tuesday.

Dallara, in his address to the seniors, asked them to thank their parents, loved ones and teachers who helped to prepare them to enter the real world "as you stand on the threshold of the rest of your life."

He told the seniors they are "smarter than we were when we graduated." He said they are better informed than the members of graduating classes 25 years ago.

Jacqueline Y. Duffey, who has served as president of the class of 2005 since her freshman year, asked her fellow classmates to remember how scared they were on their first day of school, whether they walked, had mothers drive them or rode the school bus.

"Looking back on elementary school it all seems so easy," she said. She echoed her remarks in reminiscing about middle school days. "It all seems so easy," she said.

High school offered more choices and there "was no one to baby us. We all expected to be graduates, to walk out the door and if we choose, to leave Waynesboro," she said.

"Now we will have experiences like none that we have encountered before," she said.

Valedictorian Kathleen L. McCann urged her classmates not to give up their dreams.

"You will diminish yourself," she said. "Even if you don't reach it, you will still arrive at a place better than where you started."

Off to the side, in front of the bleachers, stood Andrew J. Biesecker, 17, and a half-dozen of his friends. Biesecker's name is listed in the program as a graduate, but he wore a T-shirt and baggy jeans, not a cap and gown.

He was sent to an alternative school by the courts and didn't meet the requirements to graduate, he said.

He said he felt "left out. I'm in the program, but I'm not graduating."

He and his friends were there, he said, to watch their friend, J. Brandon Dennis, get his diploma.

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