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Jefferson High School grads say good-bye to high school

June 04, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

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SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - It was a class that produced students like Trevor Ford, who aced the ACT college entrance exam earlier this year.

And Jefferson High School continued to demonstrate its athletic prowess this year by its win in the West Virginia Class AAA baseball championship game Saturday.

Those accomplishments and others were mentioned during the school's 35th commencement ceremony Sunday at Shepherd University.

"I can only wonder how well we will do in the future," class secretary Pamela Mae Caruso said during the graduation ceremonies at the Butcher Center.

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An estimated 435 Jefferson High School students received diplomas during the afternoon exercises, and parents and friends of the students jammed the basketball gymnasium to get a peek at the event.

Members of the 2007 graduating class were also recognized for demonstrated success in the face of a massive renovation of the school along Flowing Springs Road between Charles Town and Shepherdstown.

The work, which was expected to cost at least $15.3 million, will include a new gymnasium, new science classrooms, expanded cafeteria space, new media center and other improvements.

Class Treasurer Paul Espinosa Jr. described the school's facelift as "amazing" and said the gift from the senior class will be flowering trees to plant at the emerging new facility.

Students reflected on their educational experiences and administrators tried to prepare the class for their lives ahead.

Class President William Lauffer thanked adults, including parents, who helped students through their educational experience. He said students now have the summer ahead of them to work on their transition in life.

"It's not sad, it's just different. We now have a better idea who we are and who we might be," Lauffer said.

Principal Howard Guth told students they will have to be constantly trained in today's work force, especially in light of technological advances.

"You will constantly have to be updating to keep up," Guth said.

In a hallway outside the gymnasium, Heather Nehls was surrounded by family members after the ceremony. Family members took turns taking different photographs of Nehls and her family.

Nehls said she was "excited, happy" at being a Jefferson High graduate.

When asked what her immediate plans were, Nehls' father threw out a possibility.

"She might come to California with her dad," said Joe Nehls.

Down the hall, seniors Sam Oden and George Courtney were walking together.

"I'm just ready to look to the future," said Oden, 18, of Kearneysville, W.Va.

"Maybe I can do some good," Oden said.

Courtney, 18, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., said he hopes to eventually take over his dad's business, Courtney and Sons Towing in Bolivar, W.Va.

Oden joked that would make his friend a "celebrity."

Courtney said he plans to take some business classes at Mountain State University in Martinsburg, W.Va., to help prepare him for the job.

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