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Greencastle seniors awarded diplomas

June 09, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Despite a few rumbles of thunder, the Greencastle-Antrim Senior High School graduation went off without a hitch Wednesday evening.

Spectators on the bleachers and in lawn chairs around the track rang cowbells and took photos as the 175 blue- and white-robed graduates filed onto the field.

Co-drum majors Brandon Tresler and Rebecca Willard led the band in "The Star-Spangled Banner" one last time.

"It was the perfect topper," Tresler said.

His best memories of high school will be the field band, the school dances and "hearing about all the drama," he said. Tresler has been accepted to Shippensburg (Pa.) University, where he plans to study political science.

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Valedictorian Dustin Young said that not only have the teachers given the class the "primary knowledge we'll use throughout life, they took the time to know us personally.

"Thirteen years ago, we got on the big yellow bus with our Barbie backpacks and Ninja Turtle backpacks."

Later, "we ruled the school as eighth-graders. In our senior year, we had to dig in and give all our strength and make sense of it all. There's a purpose of everything. Have passion for God, your family, your country and career. With passion, your dream of success will be fulfilled."

Young has been accepted at Ursinus College.

Co-salutatorians Adam Haldeman and Rebecca Willard also addressed the crowd.

Haldeman said that the speech was "the last assignment I'll ever do in high school." He said that in thinking about everything that has happened to him, he realized he has been looking at life incorrectly.

"It's not a series of events," he said. "Life is about love. Purpose is constant and universal. Every event has a purpose."

Haldeman will be attending the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University.

Willard, who plans to study criminal justice administration at Waynesburg College in the fall, told the class to remember the patience and encouragement of the teachers, and to do the same for others.

Speaker Jeremy Hirneisen, who graduated from Greencastle-Antrim third in his class in 1988, earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Bucknell University. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 11 years. In 2003, he was mobilized to Iraq where he served for 15 months as company commander. The most important thing that will affect how successful you are in every aspect of your life is your attitude, he said.

"How would your teachers, family and classmates grade your attitude?" he asked the graduates. "Your attitude GPA is more important than your academic GPA."

People with a good attitude perform at a level 40 percent higher than those with a pessimistic outlook, Hirneisen. Employers look first for skills, training and qualifications, he said, then from the pool of qualified applicants, attitude is the No. 1 attribute sought, he said.

"Your attitude affects those around you," he said. "Attitude is contagious, and bad attitude is more contagious than good.

Principal Jack Appleby said that 27 members of the class graduated in January, two are Lenfest scholars, two graduated in three years and 16 took college courses early. More than 200 transcripts have been sent to colleges and employers for the class of 2005, he added.

Afterward, graduates and their families and friends hugged, cried and took more pictures.

Stephanie Diorio said she will miss "everything" about high school.

"All my friends, sleeping in study hall, Mr. Solomon, and Mr. Hussack's sense of humor."

Haldeman said he would miss the jokes and the laughter with his friends.

E'Lisha Powell said she would miss her friends and the faculty, "especially the teachers," she said.

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