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197 receive Greencastle-Antrim diplomas

June 08, 2006|by DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - There are timeless elements to any high school graduation ceremony - speeches urging graduates to step boldly into the future, diploma-clutching students posing and graduates searching a crowded football field for relatives.

Some things do change. The Instamatics and Polaroids have been replaced by digital cameras and camcorders and newly-minted Greencastle-Antrim High School graduate Joe Pilch was using his cell phone to track down his mother Thursday night.

"The experiences, the memories are just awesome and crazy," Pilch said as graduates, families and friends milled about Kaley field. "It kind of sucks that it's over," said Pilch, whose next step in life is to study engineering at the Penn State Mont Alto campus.

"I'm glad I'm leaving, but I'm going to miss high school," said Robin Starliper, who plans to attend Wilson College and become a history teacher. Her cheering section included Katie Yeakle, Class of 2007, who held a handmade "Congrats to Robin" poster.

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Dennis and Lynne Wenrick are veterans of high school graduations, but Lynne said daughter, Adrienne, is the last of thier three children to experience this rite of passage. "I packed the tissues" in expectation of a few tears, she said.

Ten years ago, Jennifer Pine was a salutatorian at her graduation. Thursday, the veterinarian was back at her old high school making another speech and she told the 197 graduates, "I'm just as nervous today."

"If you dream it, you can become it," Pine told the Class of 2006, but she conceded that, "The truth is it's tough out there."

Pine recalled a moment in her freshman year at veterinary school when she called her mother and begged to come home. Three days later, she received a framed copy of the speech she had made at her graduation that bolstered her spirits.

Valedictorian Romelle Whalen urged her classmates to keep an eye open for life's opportunities and to "pay attention to who you are and whom you will become. Whalen, who is heading to Amherst to study Asian languages, quoted a pair of Japanese proverbs, including one on the fragility and brevity of life: "Rosy cheeks in the morning and white bones in the evening."

Principal Jack Appleby told the audience that 19 of the top 20 students in the Class of 2006 were females and the top 14 all had grade-point averages at or greaten than 4.0, with none of the group having a GPA less than 3.9.

Clutching a bouquet, Amber Rowles cheered when Stacy McCanuel's name was announced.

"She's been my best friend through thick and thin," said the 2004 graduate, now living in West Virgina.

She said a lot of graduates "come back year after year to see how much Greencastle has changed."

"It's getting bigger and bigger, but the people haven't changed," Rowles said.

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