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Grads leave comfort zone

June 08, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

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HANCOCK - Most of the 45 Hancock Middle-Senior High School students who graduated Thursday said they've known each other since kindergarten.

"I know everyone," said Meghan Chiaruttini, 17. "And I know everything about everyone."

Leaving the small group of students they grew up with, and leaving the tight-knit school will be challenging, they said.

"It hasn't really hit me yet," Meghan said. "When I'm on stage, man, I'll realize this is for real. It's like you're leaving some of your best friends in the world."

Tye Souders, 18, the class valedictorian, said that his friendships with many of his classmates began at Hancock Elementary, across the street from the school where he gave his commencement speech Thursday.

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"You've been seeing the same people for 13 years and you have to move away and it's a big change," said Dustin Hull, class salutatorian.

Woodrow Tasker, 18, said that like many of Thursday's graduates, he finished high school in January. He's been working at Roxbury Correctional Institution for about one month as a correctional officer.

"High school seems like a long time ago already," he said.

Kymber Potter, 17, said she's looking forward to enrolling at Hagerstown Business College in July. Kymber chose the school because, like Hancock, it was a small school and a comfortable environment.

"I'm ready to get out of here and go on to the next step," she said.

Kimberly Knable, 17, said she completed her high school courses in January and began attending Hagerstown Community College. She's studying to be a medical assistant, but said she still hopes to keep in touch with her friends.

Nick Powell, 17, said he'll spend the next few months preparing for college. He's planning to enroll at Frostburg State University in the fall, and said he eventually wants to be a doctor.

But while practicing medicine, Nick said he'll always remember his senior year English class.

"I brought a coffeemaker to class," he said. "And I would make coffee for everyone."

Before receiving her diploma, Robin Witte,19, waited patiently on stage, running her fingers through the honor cords draped around her neck.

"I'm excited," she said. "It's always been a big dream of mine to graduate from high school. I've always wanted to be able to wear one of these robes."

Witte said she could get another chance to wear the cap and gown if she completes a nursing program at Hagerstown Community College.

Sasha Martin, 18, had several job opportunities after graduation, but said she chose to start her own graphic design business in town.

Natasha McCusker, 18, said she was nervous about her next move.

"I'm not ready for graduation," she said. "I'm not ready for anything."

She said she would like to enroll at HCC and study radiology.

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