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Berkeley Springs seniors 'survive' to graduate

May 26, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - In front of a packed audience of about 300 people, the Berkeley Springs High School class of 2007 graduated Friday night at Morgan Field.

About 22 of the 150 graduating seniors wore white caps and gowns as National Honor Society members.

Kelsey Swaim and Eric Lyda were co-valedictorians, and Lyda confessed he was "a little nervous."

Lyda said his address is the 2007 class theme to "outwit, outlast and outplay," which is a slogan of the television show "Survivor," and "how our class has applied it and how they will apply it in the future."

Lyda will attend George Washington University in the fall and will study political science and public policy, he said.

Swaim will begin college at Indiana Wesleyan to study children's ministries.

Her valedictorian address was a reflection of 2007 classmates and memories, she said.

The salutatorian, Thomas Price, said he will attend George Washington University in the fall to study dramatic literature. He wants to direct films.

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Candice Blanchard, a high school guidance counselor, said about 60 percent of the graduating class will continue their education.

"I'm real excited to get started and I'm looking forward to what lies ahead," graduate Eric Duckwall said.

Duckwall said he joined the Air National Guard and will begin training this summer.

Next spring, he will begin a two-year program at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg, W.Va., to become a firefighter paramedic. He then plans to attend a four-year program at Shepherd University to get a degree in nursing.

The graduating class wore white or blue caps and gowns and were led by 29 faculty members and administrators, who also wore caps and gowns, a new tradition that began at last year's graduation.

"Wearing our robes at the ceremony last year had such a positive impact, and we're glad it has become a tradition," social studies teacher Kate Stotler said.

"This is a way to honor academics and a way for our students to see us as experienced learners," English teacher Sarah Morris said.

Elizabeth Ramsey, who teaches science, said this is her first year at the high school, so she did not participate in the procession until now.

"This is a good way to celebrate education," Ramsey said.

"We are very proud of our graduating class," said David Banks, the assistant superintendent of Morgan County Schools. "We feel Morgan County Schools has prepared our students for further education so they can make themselves available for any opportunity."

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