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North grads grew up together, just like their alumni folks

June 07, 2008|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN - A lot has changed in three decades at North Hagerstown High School - a stadium has been built and Advanced Placement classes and an International Baccalaureate program have been instituted, among other things.

But the bonds of friendship have remained constant for some.

This year's graduating class includes six students whose parents graduated with North High's class of 1978.

"We know the school song, that's for sure," Teresa Schoeck said with a laugh.

Parent Lisa Winger said that in conversations with classmates Juan Cardenas last summer and Dawn Corapi at school basketball games, a list of class of '78 classmates with offspring graduating in 2008 graduates was formulated:

· Juan Cardenas, father of Jessica Cardenas

· Dawn Dawson Corapi, mother of Liz Corapi

· Rory and Laurie Martin Sandberg, parents of Lauren Sandberg

· Teresa Antill Schoeck, mother of Gretchen and Otto Schoeck

· Lisa Bowers Winger, mother of Kenzie Strickland

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The alumni have remained friends over the years and, perhaps naturally enough, their children became friends.

"We grew up together, just like our parents grew up together," Lauren Sandberg said.

For the parents, the memories of high school have faded a bit, but the lasting friendships have helped them weather bumps along life's journey.

"We know that we are always there for each other," Teresa Schoeck said in an e-mail. "We have lost siblings, parents, etc., all the normal life challenges we all face. When something happens, the phones start ringing and we are always there to take care of each other."

As the alumni and new graduates run through the lists of their high school activities, the similarities are striking. Both parents and the new graduates were involved in school activities.

The other common thread is the academic success of the students, with all six headed to college.

Liz Corapi, who was a member of North High's teaching academy, will attend Frostburg (Md.) State University as an elementary education major.

Jessica Cardenas is headed to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Kenzie Strickland will attend the University of Maryland, College Park, the same school her mother attended.

Lauren Sandberg will study athletic training/physical therapy at West Virginia University.

Twins Gretchen and Otto Schoeck agree it's time to blaze their own trails. Gretchen will go to her father's alma mater, Bucknell University, while Otto is headed to Johns Hopkins University, following in the footsteps of his older sister and brother. He plans to major in neuroscience.

Kenzie Strickland said she sometimes wishes for the days before AP classes and IB programs were requirements for those who wish to be competitive for college admissions.

"I think, as a whole, we're forced to be more academically driven. We're all neurotic now," Kenzie said as AP and IB exams were winding down at the time of the interview.

Parent Laurie Sandberg said when she went to North High, students chose either the academic or business track, which determined the courses students would take. Class choices were much more limited 30 years ago, she said.

Lisa Winger agreed that the curriculum is more diverse now.

And, said Laurie Sandberg, "I think we had more fun."

Lauren Sandberg said she enjoys seeing old photographs of her parents - the only 1978 classmates of this group who married - posing with their friends for prom. Teresa Antill also married a North High graduate, but Ted Schoeck was a 1977 graduate.

While today's graduates are looking forward to moving on, they admit the reality of graduation and going their separate ways hasn't hit and probably will be emotional.

"We'll stay in touch," Gretchen Schoeck said.

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