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Evening High School grads stuck to it

May 28, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- Adeline Carbaugh was all smiles Thursday.

Two weeks from her due date, Adeline, 17, rubbed her belly and said she was "so happy" to be graduating from high school. She was one of 11 students to graduate this year from Washington County Evening High School. Nine students participated in Thursday's commencement ceremony at Washington County Technical High School.

Carol W. Costello, supervisor of alternative programs and student services for Washington County Public Schools, said the students on stage Thursday had experienced some detours, wrong turns and even some dead ends in their road to graduation.

"The key thing is that you're here," Costello said. "You stuck with it. You showed us that with perseverance, you can do it."

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That was the case for Adeline, who dropped out of school before January, only to return shortly after.

"I knew I had to get my diploma," she said.

Like some other students graduating Thursday, Adeline said she found she was able to accommodate work with the class schedule provided at Evening High School. She works from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at a day-care center, then attended school from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Adeline said she will continue working at the day-care center until her baby boy is born, then she plans to enroll at Hagerstown Community College.

Elizabeth Bryan, 20, of Hagerstown, attended classes at the Washington County Family Center, but graduated Thursday from Evening High School.

Bryan said it took her longer than other students to graduate from high school because she learned she was pregnant in the 11th grade while still enrolled at Clear Spring High School. She enrolled in the family center shortly after, but dropped out when her daughter only was a few months old.

Bryan said it was her mother's encouragement that led her to go back to school when her daughter was 1 year old.

"If it wasn't for my mother pushing me to go to school, I wouldn't be standing on stage today," she said during a commencement speech Thursday. "I finally graduated."

Paul Sisler, 17, said he plans to look for a job, then "lay low for a while" after graduation. He also is considering enlisting in the U.S. Marines for a few years before selecting a college and a career.

Destinee Kline, 18, said she was excited to graduate Thursday and plans to enroll at HCC, where she will study nursing.

"I like being able to help people," she said.

Brian Wentzell, 17, of Hagerstown, graduated alongside his brother, Jeffrey Wentzell. Brian said he was enrolled at North Hagerstown High School through the 11th grade, but said he thought Evening High School would be a better fit for him due to problems he had with the administration.

"It seemed like a nice place to come ... better for me as a student," Brian said.

He said he's planning to enroll in classes at HCC and find a job.

Josh Berlinicke, 19, enrolled in Evening High School to repeat two classes he needed to graduate. He said the schedule at the school allowed him to work during the day at Martin's Food Market and attend classes at night.

"I'm finally done," Berlinicke said of graduating.

After receiving their diplomas and tossing a few caps in the air, the graduates gathered for a reception with family and friends.

"Finally," Adeline told her friends. "I did it!"

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