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HCC alum busy preparing for anniversary weekend, ball

August 28, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - Gerry McCarney is planning to have a ball on Saturday, Sept. 9, and he won't be alone.

As president of the Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association, McCarney has been working closely on the preparations for the HCC Ball at Fountain Head Country Club's new clubhouse in celebration of the college's 60th anniversary.

"We have 300 reservations so far," McCarney said.

Capacity is about 375 so there is some room for last-minute ticket purchases at $30 a person.

Following an hour of appetizers at 6 p.m. accompanied by a harpist, a dinner is planned for 7 p.m. with soft piano music in the background.

"At 8 p.m., we will have a presentation of audiovisual highlights of the college's first 60 years," McCarney said.

Atlee Kepler, the college's first president, is expected to attend along with current president Guy Altieri. A report on the college foundation will be made.

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There will be dancing at 8:30 p.m. to the music of The Holders.

"We have arranged to have music from all six decades played at the ball," McCarney said.

The ball is just one of the many events planned for the weekend celebration.

Selena Luther is the chairwoman of the ball, overseeing an enthusiastic committee which includes McCarney.

"As president of the alumni association, it comes with the territory," he said of the work he is doing.

McCarney, 43, was a member of the class of 1987 at Hagerstown Junior College.

"After I graduated from North Hagerstown High School, I went to work for three years," McCarney said.

He soon became frustrated with minimum-wage jobs. Knowing that he needed more education to succeed, McCarney enrolled at HJC while still working full time.

"It was a great experience," he said. "The flexibility was there so I could take three or four classes a semester."

McCarney said he also enjoyed the extracurricular activities and friendships he formed during his years at the college.

"I did a lot of theater at college, and I'm still performing at the Washington County Playhouse."

After completing his studies at HJC, McCarney took courses at Shepherd College. He earned his undergraduate degree in 1999 from Wheeling Jesuit University, which has a campus in Martinsburg, W.Va.

"Then in 2001, I earned my master's degree from Argosy University/American School of Professional Psychology in Arlington, Va.," McCarney said. "Some classes were on campus and some were online."

Working in the mental health field for seven years, McCarney is a child therapist at CASA, where he had interned four years ago.

"In a speech class at HJC, I remember I was asked what I wanted to do and I said this - what I'm doing now," he said. "HJC had a big part in my career success."

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