Jefferson High grads urged to take moral high road

June 01, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

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SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. -- Jefferson High School Principal Howard Guth said during Saturday's commencement ceremony that it was 1990 when most of the members of the Jefferson High School class of 2008 were born.

The top-rated television program was "Cheers." The Cincinnati Reds won the World Series. And "Ghost" was the No. 1 attraction at the box office.

Since then, things have changed, he said. We now live in an America in which for the first time, either a woman or an African-American will become the Democratic presidential nominee.


Guth urged the graduates to always take the moral high road.

"Real integrity is doing the right thing ..." he said. "Character and integrity will lead you further than any amount of money in the world."

Saturday's ceremony lasted about 90 minutes. A majority of that time was consumed as the nearly 500 graduates accepted their diplomas.

"I'm really excited," said Andrew Orsie, who will attend Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., in the fall. "There's nerves and excitement, but I'm ready for a change at this point."

Orsie said it would be difficult leaving his friends, particularly Marisela Lopez, who said she wants Orsie to sing at her wedding one day.

"I love Andrew," she said. "I'll miss him the most."

Before the ceremony, the soon-to-be-graduates waited in a stifling hallway in the Butcher Center on the Shepherd University campus. They started clapping in unison as the doors opened, marking the beginning of their march into the gym that would culminate four years of high school.

In her speech, class secretary Christina Anne Hammond asked her classmates to go back in time and reminisce about the last four years. Among other things, she mentioned the success of the girls and boys soccer teams.

Hammond said there would be times when the future would not be bright, but the class of 2008 always could count on each other.

"When you look to your right and left, you won't see classmates," she said. "You'll see brothers and sisters."

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