36 'educated in a small town' graduate from Forbes Road

June 08, 2007|by DON AINES

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"Educated in a small town
Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another boring romantic that's me"
- "Small Town" by John Mellencamp

WATERFALL, Pa. - There is no getting lost in the crowd at Forbes Road High School, where every one of the 36 graduating seniors of the class of 2007 certainly must know each other by name and the class song is appropriately about life in a small town.

"Last year, we graduated 23, the second smallest class ever," Kevin Hinkle said. "We're gradually moving up, I guess."

"You know everybody," said Tyler Brown, who noted that can be both a good and bad thing in such a small setting.


The entire graduating class fit comfortably on the stage of the Fulton County school's auditorium, where a few hundred relatives and friends showed up to send them on their way into adulthood.

"It's a really tight-knit school. It's really more of a family," said Cody Shaw, who will room with Hinkle next year in college. He said the student-teacher ratio at such a small school is a benefit as well.

"Most of our classes average 12 to 21 students," Shaw said.

"My accounting class had two people in it," Hinkle said.

Among the parents snapping away with digital cameras and camcorders was Shaw's mother, Carol Shaw, who raised her son as a single mother.

"She's been my mother and my father all my life," Cody Shaw said.

"You couldn't have a better son," his mother said.

Axl Lee Clark's mother, Lori, had reason to be both proud and relieved at her son's graduation. He won a McKelvey Foundation scholarship that will pay $12,500 per year over four years while he attends Shippensburg (Pa.) University.

Tuition is a big headache neither Axl nor his parents will have to deal with, Lori Clark said.

Brandon Brantner fared well on local scholarships, but he was not quite sure how well, estimating he got between $2,500 and $3,000.

"I wound up getting surprised by at least two of them," Brantner said of some of the awards handed out at the ceremony that he did not have previous knowledge of winning. He will be studying forestry and wildlife at Penn State Mont Alto this fall, he said.

As with all graduation ceremonies, the seniors were urged to seize the day and make the most of their lives.

"Let courage be your oar. Let passion be your sail," valedictorian William Eisaman said.

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