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Southern Fulton High graduates 66

June 05, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

WARFORDSBURG, Pa. - Southern Fulton has a hold on Nathan Wuertenberg.

The senior could have graduated early last year and instead opted to come back to join the Class of 2008.

He'll leave for McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., this fall, only to come back to his alma mater in four years with a a couple of degrees.

"I want to come back," said Wuertenberg, who will pursue majors in Spanish and history. "I hope to be a high school history teacher. Here."

Wuertenberg was one of 66 to walk the stage Wednesday night during commencement ceremonies in the jam-packed high school auditorium.

Principal Brett Gilliland likely observed his last graduation ceremony at Southern Fulton and gave his students one final piece of advice.

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"Last but not least," he said. "Remember that the choices we make today truly shape the world tomorrow."

Gilliland will step down as principal at the end of the month to become assistant superintendent in Everett (Pa.) School District.

Wuertenberg and fellow senior Kristin Palmer paid special tribute to Gilliland after receiving their diplomas. Wuertenberg played guitar as Palmer sang the lyrics to "Somewhere" from the musical "West Side Story."

"The people. I will truly miss the people," Gilliland said. "This is the hardest move I've made."

The seniors, too, are preparing for their most difficult move.

Of the graduates, 44 percent are expected to attend four-year colleges, 28 percent will attend two-year institutions and 26 percent will directly enter the work force. James Curtis, Cody Dicken and William Messerly will join the military.

"Follow your dreams and soar with the eagles," Gilliland told the graduates, "but be sure to come back to the nest."

Palmer will attend Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., where she will major in vocal performance in hopes of one day making it on Broadway.

Meanwhile, Kyrsten Kline will remain in the Keystone state while she attends Shippensburg University to land an education in psychology.

As for the whole graduation process?

"I'm excited, now," she said. "I'm glad to have it over."

She wasn't the only one looking ahead. Valedictorian Rebecca Schriever pointed to the long-term.

"Where do you see yourself in five, 10, 15 years," she asked her classmates. "Wherever it is, make sure it's wonderful."

Salutatorian Kelly Elbin pushed her fellow grads to go against the grain and push the limits of society, quoting the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher.

"Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible."

But impossible, she said, is merely a relative term.

"It just means the previous theory didn't succeed."

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