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Boonsboro grads share high school memories

June 05, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- High school might only last four years, but, as speakers at Boonsboro High School's graduation ceremony pointed out Friday morning, they can be four of the most significant and memorable years in a person's life.

"I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that, day by day, I matured and grew and became a much different person than I was when I started high school," salutatorian Andrew S. Bitner told his blue-and-white-robed classmates and the crowd of friends and family members who packed Hagerstown Community College's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

Principal Martin R. Green noted the students began high school at age 13 or 14 -- barely into their teenage years -- and most were graduating at age 18, now legal adults.

"It's not lost on any of us the significance of those four years," Green said. "What a change."

Green, who graduated from Boonsboro High School 40 years ago with the class of 1969, told the students that down the road, it would not be the academic lessons that would stand out in their memories, but the life lessons that came along with them.

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"Your memories will come up everywhere," Green said. "Just when you least expect it, something will pop up that will remind you of something in your high school days."

For example, Green said, when he saw his senior English teacher's obituary in the newspaper, it took him back to the time she sent him to stand in the hall for making a smart remark about having to listen to a Shakespeare play.

"The lesson I learned was, don't let your mouth buy what your pride has to pay for," Green said.

The student speakers at the graduation ceremony already knew what some of their strongest memories of high school would be.

Valedictorian Scoti E. Dodson talked about how when she first got her driver's license, she would set out with no destination in mind and along the way learned, one, that gas was expensive, and two, that "apparently all roads in this county end up back at Dual Highway."

"Anyone who has driven with me knows that I do not believe in 'getting lost,'" Dodson said, making air quotes with her fingers. "There's simply detours and much, much, much longer routes of getting to the place you had initially planned."

Bitner said one of his memories of high school would be finding out as a freshman that his class would be part of an experiment in gender-segregated learning.

"I mean, how many 14-year-old boys want to be in a class with just boys?" he said with a grin.

The class of 2009 was the first to participate in the single-gender "academy" program. It also was the first class required to pass Maryland School Assessment exams in order to graduate.

As such, school board member Paul W. Bailey told the graduates, "You had a big target on your back."

"You made it happen and you have made your board of education happy, along with your parents and everyone else, and we thank you very much," Bailey said.

Boonsboro High School



Number of graduates: 231

Valedictorian: Scoti E. Dodson

Salutatorian: Andrew S. Bitner

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