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Berkeley Springs grads move forward

May 24, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- About 80 percent of the Berkeley Springs High School Class of 2009 will pursue post-secondary education, Principal George Ward said before the graduation ceremony began Sunday afternoon.

"This is the highest since I've been here. We were at the bottom at 36 percent in 2001," Ward said.

With the sun shining, more than 800 people watched the 148 graduating seniors receive their diplomas Sunday at the Berkeley Springs High School football stadium.

"I'm tickled to death that our staff has done such a good job. We have a very dedicated group of people here," Ward said.

Valedictorian Rebecca Trump told her classmates how much they have improved as a class and as individuals since their freshman year.


"We have made leaps and bounds since we started here," Trump said. "Do not give up on your dreams and never sell yourself short."

She will attend Penn State in the fall.

Salutatorian Mark Carter presented his speech in rap form to the delight of his classmates. "We are the greatest class to walk these halls," Carter said.

"I'd buy a copy of it," Ward said of Carter's rap.

Carter will study biology at West Virginia University in the fall, he said.

"This class is a fantastic group of kids," Ward said.

The speaker was Paula Banks, an elementary school teacher who formerly taught at the high school and knows most of the graduating students.

Banks told the class to rely on their backgrounds and their family roots to help them face responsibilities, which are more challenging than in the past.

"Whether you stay in Berkeley Springs or go elsewhere, you are the face of responsibility now ... you will have to face the problems of the economy, Darfur, and the environment and you will be known as the clean-up crew."

Aaron Webster Moss, the son of Town of Bath Mayor Susan Webster, said he felt "exuberant" to be a graduate. He intends to study mass communications in the fall at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Webster said she has been very emotional all morning. Her parents "would have loved to have seen this day," she said.

Jesse and Tammy Painter watched their daughter, Sandy Marie Crum, graduate. She is their first child.

"We are so very proud," Tammy Painter said. Crum graduated with a 4.26 GPA, is a PROMISE scholar and will study nursing at Shepherd University in the fall, she said.

"I'm excited," Crum said.

Lenny Roach is headed to Philippi, W.Va., to Alderson-Broaddus College to study nursing. "It's a little scary, but I'm happy," he said.

Chala Gaither said "I'm scared because of the change." Gaither joined the U.S. Army and will go to boot camp in September. She will study to become a pediatric surgeon, she said.

Assistant principal Lance Fox said a lot of students worked hard toward graduation, "and for those, they realize it is not a rite of passage, it is something they earned."


Berkeley Springs High School

  • 148 graduates

  • Valedictorian: Rebecca Trump

  • Salutatorian: Mark Carter

  • Speaker: Paula Banks

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