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52 students get diplomas at Goretti commencement

June 02, 2007|By MARIE GILBERT

The tassels had been switched, the speeches were over and the last of the group photos had been taken.

Four years of hard work had been rewarded with a diploma.

Now, it was time to look to the future.

On Saturday afternoon, St. Maria Goretti High School sent 52 freshly graduated students out into the world to pursue college and careers.

Behind the pomp and circumstance of the commencement at St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church, there were stories of individual successes and unique accomplishments.

But the conversations in the hallways prior to the ceremonies centered around tomorrow - summer jobs, getting ready for college and beginning a new chapter in their lives.

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"It's time to move on," said John Streifel, 17, of Keedysville. "I've enjoyed my years at Goretti, but I'm looking at graduation day as something to propel me into the future."

Streifel will be attending Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md., and, though he's undecided about his major, said he is looking forward to the college campus experience.

"College will be a big change, a positive change," he said. "I'm excited about the opportunity to meet new people and be in a new environment. It's a challenge I'm looking forward to."

Molly Jameson, 17, of Hagerstown, said she was excited about life after high school, but also sad to leave her classmates behind.

"It's a bittersweet day," she said. "I've gone to school with some of my friends since kindergarten. It will be hard to say goodbye. But hopefully, we'll stay in touch by phone and e-mail."

Jameson, who was the class valedictorian, will be attending Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.

"With graduation and college plans, this is an exciting time," she said. "Everything has been a blur."

During her valedictory address, Jameson reflected on her high school years, calling them "a time of personal growth - mentally, spiritually and academically."

She challenged her fellow graduates to "go out and make the world a better place by showing love and compassion to those around you. Make changes one person at a time."

Receiving the Pro Deo et Patria Award was Sean Fitzgerald.

According to Principal Christopher Siedor, the annual award recognizes one person in the senior class who, through character, words and deeds, represents the values on which the school was founded.

Amy Dennis, dean of students at Goretti, reminded those in attendance that Saturday's commencement was a celebration of the graduates' hard work.

But it also was a celebration of their future potential, she said.

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