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Ten graduate from Job Development Center

May 25, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

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HAGERSTOWN - This year was the best of her life.

Inbal Resnick, 21, said she learned to cook, took swimming lessons, gained job skills and even attended her first prom.

And on Thursday, Resnick graduated from the Washington County Job Development Center at Marshall Street School, along with nine classmates. More than 50 people attended the ceremony at Kepler Theater at Hagerstown Community College, including other Job Development Center students.

"Our students, they aren't going on to college," said Principal Fran Murray. "So, for them, this is the highlight of their educational careers."

He said there are about 50 students enrolled, who receive vocational training and take academic courses. They also receive life and work skills, including food service, housekeeping, building and horticulture.

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The 10 students who graduated Thursday earned Maryland public schools high school certificates.

Resnick, 21, lives in Hagerstown and said this was her first school year enrolled in the Job Development Center.

"We worked really hard," she said.

Resnick plans to participate with a job program at Arc of Washington County, and says she'd like to work in food service or with children. The food service course, taught by Betty Schriver, was a favorite of many of Thursday's graduates.

Murray said the goal is to place all students in jobs or in job-seeking programs. Many graduates were already working in food service and other fields or were seeking full-time jobs.

Ashley Lawson, 21, of Smithsburg, works a few days each week at the Burger King restaurant in Maugansville. She said she's worked there for about three months, and even took mobility training at the Job Development Center so she'd be able to take the County Commuter to work.

"I like working with people and meeting new people," she said.

Luis Walsh, 21, of Hagerstown, said he recently applied for a job as a stocker at Staples.

"I'm hoping to get a job there," he said.

Graduates received their certificates and congratulations from Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan and Board Member Ruth Anne Callaham.

"You and I know this is more than just a piece of paper," Callaham said.

She and guest speaker, John Zinaich, a certified financial planner and a partner with the Premier Planning Group, each received a plant from the Job Development Center's greenhouse.

Casondra Gigeous, 18, of Hagerstown, said her graduation from the center marked the first time any member of her family graduated from high school.

"I'm very proud," she said.

Amy Wright, 20, of Hagerstown, said she's been enrolled in the center for three years and works at Long John Silver's at Valley Mall. Her dream, though, is to win "American Idol."

She performed during the graduation, singing the class song "Unwritten," by Natasha Bedingfield.

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