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Musselman High School grads excited about their futures

May 23, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

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

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Nearly 300 students graduated Thursday night from Musselman High School, entering the next phase of their lives with interests as varied as diesel mechanics and Roman archaeology.

"Well, here we are," Principal Ronald Stephens told the graduates as he took the podium in the Butcher Center at Shepherd University.

"I've pushed and I've prodded. You've pushed and you've prodded," Stephens said, although he said the students did it respectfully.

Parents and friends of the graduates packed the gymnasium as student speakers recalled Musselman memories such as pep assemblies and establishing an ecosystem in a swampy area at the school.

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Music also played a part in the ceremony as a choir group delivered a number behind the strumming of an acoustic guitarist. A group of senior band members also performed.

"Our school spirit is like no other," senior Rebecca Grove told the crowd as she presented the class gift to the school -- a large apple that will be displayed in front of the school along U.S. 11 near Inwood, W.Va. Students at the school are referred to as the Applemen.

Before students entered the gymnasium, they talked excitedly about their futures.

Heather Mier of Gerrardstown, W.Va., said she is going to a hairstyling school in Hagerstown and studying photography online.

Mier, who said she became interested in photography after being inspired by artist Andy Warhol, said she will follow the field that offers the most opportunity.

Ronald Herbaugh Jr. of Bunker Hill, W.Va., said he has been studying diesel mechanics at James Rumsey Technical Institute and plans to continue his studies at Universal Technical Institute near Exton, Pa.

Herbaugh said he hopes to get a job in a bus garage.

"I'm going to try to go to the city," Herbaugh said. "They're always paying better."

Mercedes Jones said she is heading to West Virginia University to study engineering. Jones said she has been interested in coal mine reclamation ever since a West Virginia University professor came to one of her classes to talk about the field.

"I'm excited I'm leaving," Jones said.

WVU turned out to be a popular destination.

Melissa Hebenthal of Inwood said she was heading to the home of the Mountaineers to study history because she has long been interested in archaeology in regions such as Egypt and Rome.

Gerald Hildenbrand III said he is going to WVU to study music education and performance. Hildenbrand said he has been playing trumpet since he was in sixth grade.

"I'm very excited to be pursuing something I love and I hope to be teaching in college," Hildenbrand said.

In his closing remarks, Stephens told students to do what is right, "not what's popular. Never shy away from challenge."

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