Fannett-Metal grads told to make the most of their lives

June 06, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WILLOW HILL, PA. -- Forty-seven students graduated Friday night from Fannett-Metal High School in what was the school's first outdoor ceremony.

Family and friends set up lawn chairs to celebrate the graduates, who described themselves as close-knit.

"Instead of getting out of high school, it's more missing friends and not seeing them everyday," Melanie Crider said.

"Most of us hang out on the weekend," said Nick McCalmont, who joked around before the ceremony with friends Neil Hill, Corey Henry, Dakota Bair, Douglas Johnson and Justin Hockenberry.

Hockenberry described graduation as a "party and about time."

Graduation speaker Erik Sollenberger mentioned a few memories with classmates. In one, a girl shrugged off the requirement to drive 50 hours on a driving learner's permit.

Sollenberger said the girl's response was, "Fifty hours, that's nothing. I can do that in a day."

Sollenberger, who is in the process of having his second book published, evoked his love of writing toward the end of his speech.


"This is not the end of the book of our lives," he said. "This is just the end of a chapter."

Jill Pheasant and Resa Irvin served as the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Both had perfect attendance for all 13 years of their academic career.

"We must choose to use each hour, each day the best we can," said Pheasant, who wants to work with special-needs students at the Franklin Learning Center.

"Never think your life doesn't matter," Irvin said. "Make the most of your life. You only get one chance. No redos."

Kelsey Wagner will miss "probably my friends more than anything" as she prepares to study interior design at Bradley Academy in York, Pa.

Amanda Wingert plans to attend Mount Aloysius College near Altoona, Pa., to continue her nursing aspirations. She already is a certified nurse assistant.

"School sucks, but we made it fun," Wingert said.

Fannett-Metal High School graduation at a glance

Number of graduates: 47

Valedictorian: Jill Pheasant

Salutatorian: Resa Irvin

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