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Hedgesville grads in high spirits

May 23, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Christopher Zimmerman was the last 2009 Hedgesville High School graduate to receive his diploma Saturday morning.

He was smiling, he was happy and he didn't mind being last in line.

Held at Shepherd University's Butcher Athletic Center, 348 Hedgesville High School seniors graduated to a full gymnasium filled with family and friends, calling out to them and snapping pictures.

High school principal Donald Dellinger said 44 seniors this year achieved a 3.8 or better grade-point average and graduated summa cum laude, the highest honor. Forty-eight graduated magna cum laude and 48 graduated cum laude.

Zimmerman, 19, graduated magna cum laude. He will attend Shepherd University in the fall and major in business and minor in criminal justice. He also wants to play on the soccer team.

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His mother, Jean Marie Kravchuck, stepmother, Debbie, and Mark Loudin attended the graduation ceremony.

"I am extremely proud," Kravchuck said.

"We are the proudest parents of a son who does so well," Mark Loudin said as he hugged Zimmerman.

Senior class President Robert Connelly, 17, also a magna cum laude graduate, told his classmates "not to have regrets, that you have done a good job in the last four years and to be great in whatever you do."

Connelly said he will study visual arts at West Virginia University in the fall.

Senior class Vice President Kiersten Ramsburg, 17, a cum laude graduate, will be heading to WVU in the fall to study sports management.

She wanted her classmates to follow their dreams, but not forget where they started, "and we have many different ending points, but it's the journey that matters the most," Ramsburg said.

With a 4.5 grade-point average, Angela Fitzwater was first in her class.

"It was always her dream to be first in her class," said Gloria Cole, her grandmother. "I'm really proud of her."

Fitzwater is headed to WVU in the fall and wants to study nursing to become an anesthetist.

"It's exciting to graduate," she said.

"Take time to reflect back in life and take time today to thank those who have helped you along the way," Dellinger told the graduates.

"This class has distinguished itself in the classroom and outside the classroom, not only in the concert halls, on the stages and on the playing fields, but also as individuals," Dellinger said.

"Graduating makes you happy," said Seirra Younker, who plans to attend cosmetology school in Martinsburg, W.Va.

"I feel great," said cum laude graduate Lastina Ngateh, who's heading to the Art Institute of Pennsylvania in the fall.

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