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Smithsburg's grads moving on to next step

June 06, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- A wish list wasn't on Albert F. Ritchick's mind for Smithsburg High School's 2008 graduates. He instead offered a humorous "I-wish-I-don't-see-it" list.

Ritchick, the master of ceremonies for Friday's commencement at The Maryland Theatre, said he doesn't want to see them as a missing person on a milk carton or in the police log.

He joked that he also doesn't want to see any of them "in a stocking cap hovering over my bed" or in an adult movie - not that he would ever see the movie, he said.

In a more practical vein, he urged them to be motivated if they go to college and responsible if they become parents.

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"Most of all," he said, "I don't want to hear that you're unhappy." If a plan doesn't work, smile and move on to the next thing, he said.

On their last day as high school students, several Smithsburg students said college is the next thing.

Joseph Kelly plans to study engineering at Shepherd University, hoping to parlay his music background and his science interest into a career as an acoustical engineer.

Ben Glacken is considering a sports management major when he goes to Gwynedd-Mercy College, a Catholic school near Philadelphia.

Brendan Roberts is thinking about nursing.

"I know there's a lot of money" in the profession, he said, adding, "And I like helping people."

Ben, Brendan and Craig Trueblood all plan to play lacrosse at Gwynedd-Mercy.

Another teammate, Dalton Jernigan, has a lacrosse scholarship at Mars Hill College, a Baptist school in North Carolina.

Brendan said seven of nine seniors on Smithsburg's boys lacrosse team will play in college.

Kayla Long is interested in psychology. She'll start at Hagerstown Community College, then transfer to a four-year school, but she hasn't picked one.

First, though, she'll spend about a month in Switzerland, learning the language and visiting family.

In her commencement speech, salutatorian Laura E. Baldasarre noted that she and her classmates will go in different directions.

"We will always share a past," she said. "We will always share memories."

Her final advice: "Take the time to laugh, to love and to live."

Valedictorian David J.A. Kurz reminded the class of memorable times, including the prom, beating Boonsboro, going out for lunch and, well, beating Boonsboro.

Kurz said his three pieces of advice do not involve cars, money and women. Rather, he suggested that his colleagues not take things too seriously, remember their Smithsburg roots and work hard for their goals.

With those guidelines, cars, money and women will follow, he joked.

Washington County Board of Education Vice President Donna Brightman said the graduates are coming of age in a challenging time. She gave them a checklist of helpful rules to live by, such as question authority, stand up for their beliefs and break away from the crowd.

Senior class adviser Rachel Kane-Kirkpatrick said she feels blessed to have gotten to know many students as if they're her own children.

"I'm not one to say goodbye, so I'll see you soon," she said.

Smithsburg High School graduation at a glance



Number of graduates: About 200

Valedictorian: David J.A. Kurz

Salutatorian: Laura E. Baldasarre

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