McConnellsburg grads begin their transition into new life

June 08, 2006|by RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Correspondent

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - In an array of blue and white gowns, their school colors, 67 seniors marched onto the stage at McConnellsburg High School to receive diplomas Wednesday night.

The number of graduates in the Central Fulton School District high school was about average for a graduation, said Nancy Shearer, school secretary, who for the last eight years has coordinated the annual commencement exercises.

While the class was pretty evenly divided between girls and boys, there were a few more boys in the class this year, Shearer said.

Included in this year's graduating class was a set of twin girls and their brother, Shearer said.

The school auditorium was just about filled to capacity with family and friends of the graduates, all of whom were welcomed by Julia M. Cigola, district superintendent.


"You labored for knowledge and you opened your minds for new ideas," Cigola told the seniors in her welcoming remarks. "This evening is a transition from one life to another, like the hatching of an egg."

The class of 2006's motto - "We look to the past with pride and to the future with hope" - hung on the curtain behind the seniors during the ceremony.

Salutatorian Emile Ott came up with a top-10 list of ways for her fellow classmates to succeed in their lives.

Beginning with 10, she said life "is not fair." She urged the seniors to change what can be changed and learn from the examples of those things that can't.

For No. 9, she told them to think before they acted, to be wise and make the right choices.

In Nos. 8 through 2, Ott offered her classmates such advice as, "Look for the beauty in the world and in yourselves," "Appreciate what you have," "Have fun because it makes the best memories," "Make time for yourselves," "Accept others," "Forgive because the world is harsh and people will hurt you" and "Continue to learn."

Dream is No. 1 on Ott's list.

"Take risks," she said. "Don't be content."

Ott plans to attend Penn State University in the fall to study kinesiology and prepare for a career as a physical therapist.

She said she enjoyed volleyball and basketball in high school, but has no plans to participate in the sports at Penn State. At 5 feet 5 inches, Ott she said she "isn't tall enough."

The class valedictorian was Thomas A. Deshong.

Mike Wagner, 18, plans to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania to study nuclear medicine. He hopes to become a technician in the field, he said.

Wagner's hobby is racing sprint cars, an activity he plans to continue through college and beyond, he said.

David Thomas was milling among his classmates just before graduation asking them to sign Scooter Jr., a small white stuffed dog, as a memento of his high school days.

"Scooter is my nickname," Thomas said.

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