Berkeley Springs graduates get raucous sendoff into the real world

May 23, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

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BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- A raucous crowd gathered Friday night at Morgan Field next to Berkeley Springs High School to help send off 133 seniors into the real world.

The class of 2008 shot Silly String at one another and threw their purple and white mortarboards into the air as the last person returned to his seat to mark the end of a ceremony that lasted more than an hour.

As darkness fell and the graduates began to celebrate, the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Free Bird" was piped over a set of loud speakers, cutting through the chilled air.


Classmates Kayla Dolby, Brittany Ferguson and Jassie McLaughlan said the shock hadn't quite set in that they were done with high school.

"I'll miss my friends," McLaughlan said. "I'm not really sad ... But when I start writing out thank-you cards, I will get sappy."

Ferguson said she didn't really have any feelings after the ceremony.

"I'm just happy it's over," she said. "I'll miss being young and crazy."

The stands at the stadium were filled to capacity by the friends and families of the graduates. Those who couldn't find a seat stood along a fence to the front and sides of the stands. As some students crossed a stage to receive their diplomas, a nearby firetruck sounded its siren.

Brian Francis, 18, said he plans to attend Potomac State College in the fall to study chemistry.

"I feel good," said Michael Barrow, 18. "It's about time."

Barrow said he would miss shop class the most.

Class Vice President Juston Donadieu put together a closing speech that included lines from several songs, including The Beatles "The End" and The Rolling Stone's "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

"I thought those were the artists everyone knew," he said. "I thought we ought to end (the ceremony) on a funny note rather than a serious one."

Valedictorian: Emily Hornbaker

Salutatorian: Paul Truitt

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