McConnellsburg High grads recognized

June 07, 2007|by DON AINES

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McCONNELLSBURG, PA. - The life of a high school student can be pretty hectic, particularly at a small school where the limited number of students can mean expanded opportunities.

Just about every one of the 66 graduating seniors of the Class of 2007 at McConnellsburg High School was singled out for some kind of accolade Wednesday night, from scholarships and athletic awards to vocational certificates.

Take Gretchen Ann Swope, for example. She lettered a dozen times in three sports over four years and picked up a Senior Athletic Award along with a McConnellsburg Women of Today scholarship and a Beta Sigma Phi scholarship.


"Beautiful memories were made tonight. Memories always last," said Swope's proud grandmother, Joanne Souders.

Jeffrey Lee Grace Jr. received one of the four Senior Athletic Awards, a Distinguished Graduate Award from the Pennsylvania Senate, a VFW Award of Citizenship and the C. Owen Fries Memorial Scholarship. Joseph Alexander Chafardon II also was honored with a pair of local scholarship awards.

Kursty Lynn Campbell won a special award from the McConnellsburg Women's Club. During her four years she was on the track, soccer and basketball teams and managed to hold down an after-school job and crack the books enough to qualify for training as a medic when she joins the U.S. Army.

Kursty had to take on other adult responsibilities during parts of her sophomore and junior years when her mother, Staff Sgt. Angela Campbell, was deployed to Iraq.

"She's one of the reasons I joined," Kursty said of her decision to follow in her mother's footsteps. Five other classmates are joining the military, she said.

"It's the end of your childhood years and the beginning of your adult years," Kursty said of graduation.

After the ceremony in the auditorium the graduates gathered in the gymnasium and tossed their mortarboards into the air, with one blue cap failing to return to earth as it snagged on a light fixture. There were hugs all around, tears shed and video and digital cameras galore.

Nostalgia for high school might take some time to set in for some graduates.

"It's finally over. We're going to miss our friends, but not this place," said Amanda Alisea. Friend Christina Gibson agreed, although she will be coming back to school one day if her plans to major in education are fulfilled.

Alisea and Gibson also said they would miss some of their teachers, specifically naming Melissa Horton and Sheri Perry.

"It's been real. It's been fun. It's been real fun," Mary Beth Hann, ranked fourth in the class, told fellow graduates during the ceremony.

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