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Smithsburg dreams big

Seniors graduate amid heat, flying caps and beach balls

Seniors graduate amid heat, flying caps and beach balls

June 09, 2007|By TAMELA BAKER

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HAGERSTOWN - They lined up in the lobby of The Maryland Theatre, draped in purple and gold gowns despite the stifling heat outside.

A last adjustment to their tassels, and the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" drew the Smithsburg High School class of 2007 up to the stage Friday afternoon to mark the official end of their high school careers.

The occasion also marked the beginning of their new lives as adults, said faculty member Albert Ritchick, who served as master of ceremonies. The new grads were headed into a "more dangerous" world, he added, and "we're requiring you to make it on your own."

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Class salutatorian Brittany Clevenger admonished her classmates to "never give up your dreams, and never quit dreaming big. ...

"High school has taught us to grab every opportunity, and sometimes to make those opportunities," Clevenger said

Valedictorian Umar Qadri opened his tongue-in-cheek address noting the class was dressed not for a Hare Krishna event nor to be led off to prison - "that's for later years," he quipped.

He added that he and his classmates had started school "knowing absolutely nothing and are emerging knowing absolutely everything."

But on a serious note, he encouraged his classmates to "live as curious individuals, questioning and trying new things."

As they waited to collect their diplomas, Washington County Board of Education member Ruth Anne Callaham told them they "will succeed because you have been empowered by all of us ... Know that our future, our hope in a better world, is your responsibility."

Principal Melvin G. Whitfield said that members of the senior class had amassed more than $2 million in scholarship grants.

As they filed across the stage for their diplomas, a couple of beach balls appeared on - or rather above - the stage as class members volleyed them from end to end.

Until one of them landed in the arms of Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Morgan.

She tossed it to staff members in the audience until all of the diplomas had been handed out, to the great disappointment of both the class members and their guests.

But all was not lost.

As the new grads tossed their mortarboards at the end of the ceremony, both beach balls reappeared, floating between the caps and confetti.

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