11 graduate from Marshall Street School, Washington County Job Development Program

May 23, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Click here for more photos of this and other Tri-State area graduation ceremonies

HAGERSTOWN -- Some of the memories shared at Thursday's commencement ceremony for Marshall Street School and the Washington County Job Development Program were smaller details.

Kelway Bockius-Lukasik's smile.

Gordon B. Thorne III sticking up for himself.

Samanda Jo Hammond always answering "How are you?" with "Tired."

Teachers and administrators recalled those and other traits, and said they'll miss them.

On Thursday, years of learning and improving culminated with graduation for Kelway, Gordon, Samanda and eight others.

They were the class of 2008 -- four from Marshall Street School, seven from the Washington County Job Development Program.

Their time at their respective programs was celebrated and honored during a ceremony at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater.

Ten of the 11 graduates attended. They were saluted and cheered by their families and other students.


Marshall Street School is an intensive program for young people with developmental disabilities. The Job Development Center teaches students with disabilities to become independent and find jobs.

Roxanne Ober, president of the Washington County Board of Education, told the graduates her brother attended a program like the Job Development Center and now has a job.

She also shared a story about a boy who worked as a bagger at a grocery store.

Each day, the boy came up with a thought of the day that he and his father typed on pieces of paper.

At work, he dropped the thoughts in customers' bags. Soon, his checkout line was the most popular, even attracting people who hadn't planned to shop that day, Ober said, calling the story a testimony to "the spirit of service."

Commencement speaker William Knode, a former Job Development teacher, said work "brings out the best in people" and sometimes just makes them feel good.

Job Development Center graduates have done a variety of work, master of ceremonies Paul Wolverton said as he introduced each of them.

They helped recycle and crush cans. They kept grounds and washed dishes.

Bockius-Lukasik worked at the Prime Outlets at Hagerstown food court.

Michael Kevin Seek works at Pizza Hut.

Patrick Ryan Speaker works at Martin's Food Market on Dual Highway.

Knode said jobs let students have interesting experiences, meet new people and gain independence. Students earn appreciation and spending money.

"Try to be the very best person you can be," he encouraged them.

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