Seniors honored for academic excellence


HAGERSTOWN -- Bob Hockenbury is hoping by the time he graduates from Cornell University in 2013 that some of his current Clear Spring High School teachers will be thinking about retirement.

That's because he would like to take their place someday, teaching in the school's agriculture program.

The 17-year-old was one of 218 Washington County Public Schools seniors honored Wednesday for academic excellence. The annual celebration at North Hagerstown High School recognizes students with a 3.7 GPA or higher.

Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Donna Hanlin said there are about 1,650 seniors in the class of 2009. Of those, 90 are graduating with a GPA of 4.0 or higher.

"Your accomplishments are remarkable," Washington County Board of Education President Wayne D. Ridenour told the seniors.

Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said the class of 2009 experienced many firsts during their high school careers, including additional academic choices and opportunities. This year's seniors also enrolled in more Advanced Placement courses than any class of students in the school system's history, Morgan said Wednesday.


"You have surpassed and exceeded my high expectations, wishes and dreams," she said.

Sean Karraker, a senior at Washington County Technical High School, says he hopes to continue studying engineering after graduation. He has been involved in the technical high school's engineering program for two years, and said he will study electrical engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point beginning in the Fall.

Sean said he'll likely serve five years of active duty military service and three years in the reserves.

Anthony Burt, a Technical High senior, also is enrolled in the school's pre-engineering program, and said he plans to enroll at Penn State Mont Alto and transfer after two years.

Anthony, who has a 3.85 GPA, said he will major in either electrical, mechanical or aerospace engineering, saying he wants to "test the waters."

"I like tackling problems and figuring out how to solve them," said Anthony, who will speak at his graduation.

Katie Butts, a Williamsport High School senior, said she plans to study radiography at Hagerstown Community College.

"I want to help people, and make a difference in the health field," said Katie, who has a 3.76 GPA.

Carlee Harbaugh, a Williamsport High senior with a 4.02 GPA, and said she plans to attend HCC for a year before transferring to Shepherd University. She plans to study American history and English literature -- her two favorite subjects -- and said she'll likely go into teaching or work in a museum one day.

"I love to read," Carlee said. "And history ... I've always loved the past."

Nevin Harshman, a Clear Spring High School senior, said he is enrolled part time at Hagerstown Community College. After graduation, Nevin, who has a 3.79 GPA, will enroll full time with hopes of becoming a registered nurse.

Nevin said it was volunteer work he did as a freshman at a local hospice that sparked his interest in nursing. He said he looks forward to helping people.

Katelyn Blickenstaff, 17, a Clear Spring High senior, has a 4.02 GPA and also hopes to go into nursing. She says she'll study at HCC before transferring.

Katelyn said she became specifically interested in anesthesiology after undergoing four surgeries, and she hopes to pursue a career as a nurse anesthetist.

Morgan Baker, a Williamsport High senior, has a 4.06 GPA and is eighth in her graduating class. She said she will attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania to study musical education, and plans to teach elementary school music.

Morgan plays the clarinet, saxophone and piano, and is involved in her school's marching band and wind ensemble.

"I want to share my love (of music) with kids and get them started," she said.

Grant Brown, a Boonsboro High School senior, is graduating with a 3.72 GPA and said he plans to enroll at the University of Maryland at College Park. For now, Grant hopes to become a high school English teacher, but he said that could change "six times" during his college career.

Keasha Carter, a South Hagerstown High School senior, is graduating with a 3.9 GPA and plans to attend the University of Central Florida to study physical therapy.

"It hasn't really hit me (that I'm graduating)," Keasha said.

Brent Grumbine, a North Hagerstown High School senior, said he will enroll at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida and study to become a commercial airline pilot.

"I've always wanted to fly," Brent said. "It runs in my family."

Brent said he was attending HCC part time until classes there ended earlier this month. Now, he goes to North High for two classes each day, and it feels like he's already graduated.

"I'm ready to graduate," he said.

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