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Martinsburg grads say goodbye

May 26, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

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SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Martinsburg High School student council President Stephen Lowell always thought he would be ready to say good-bye at graduation on Friday night.

"I am ready to say goodbye to those last homework assignments, but I am not ready to say goodbye to all of the people that I love," Lowell said in parting remarks to fellow graduates of the school's class of 2007.

Lowell was one of school's 313 students who graduated this year.

At the 129th commencement exercise inside the Butcher Athletic Center at Shepherd University, smiles expanded the length of most graduates' faces as each of their names were announced.

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Pockets of an overflowing crowd cheered, hooted and clapped for their graduates, who were presented with their diplomas and congratulated by school principal Kenneth L. Pack III, County Schools Superintendent Manny P. Arvon, and the members of Berkeley County Board of Education.

"It was tough, but I got through it," said Megan Nicole Hess, 20.

"I'm very happy about it, that I'm actually achieving my goal," Hess added before filing into the athletic center's gymnasium.

Hess said she is going to miss her teachers the most, but not the kids who picked on her or the homework.

Andrew Joiner, 18, said he sometimes found it difficult to study after football practices that didn't end until 8 or 9 p.m.

"That (was) the hard part," said Joiner, who said he plans to play football for Waynesburg (Pa.) College.

Like every graduate interviewed, Elizabeth Kurt, 17, said she wouldn't miss the school lunch food ... well, not entirely.

"I'll miss the pizza crust (stuffed with cheese) - that's it," she said. "I'm to going to miss all my underclassman friends."

Tim Jones, 18, said graduation for him was a big step toward growing up.

"A big step toward finding out what your going to do for the rest of your life," he said.

For Shana Harris, 18, graduating represented a lot of accomplishments through the years.

As one of several students to don the National Honor Society's white scarf over her black gown, Harris said she was accepted at a number of colleges, but chose to stay close to home and will study nursing at Shepherd University.

Jessica Lloyd said she plans to attend West Virginia University after "toughing out" high school and graduation.

"I guess it's being recognized for 12 years of hard work," Lloyd said.

In his remarks, Pack told the graduates that they didn't need luck to succeed because all of them were talented.

"Every class, it's a nice feeling," Pack said. "There's nothing more exciting. This is one of those milestones."

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