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Shepherd grads look to future

May 16, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER
  • Melia Mont Mollohan, of Charles Town, W.Va., graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education, gives a thumbs up Saturday during commencement at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
Kelly Hahn Johnson, Staff Photographer

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    SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. -- The members of the 2010 graduating class of Shepherd University received their degrees Saturday in front of a full gymnasium packed with family and friends.

    Held in the university's Butcher Athletic Center, the graduating class of more than 700 students cheered for each other as the students were called to walk across the stage to receive their degrees.

    Margaret L. Workman, a justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, was the guest speaker at the university's 137th commencement.

    Workman said she grew up poor, but remembers her family visiting people in nursing homes, taking gifts and singing gospel music to them. She said her family enjoyed doing it and probably got more out of it than the people they visited.

    "It's the givers that receive the greatest gift," she said.

    She told the graduates to "find the work that you love."

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Workman, who is a graduate of West Virginia University, received an honorary doctorate from Shepherd before giving the address.

Erin Weatherly, 21, of Hagerstown, received a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education. She is a Phi Kappa Phi honor society member and graduated magna cum laude.

"This is well beyond a high school graduation," Weatherly said. "It's an amazing feeling."

Her parents, grandmother, sister, aunts and fianc attended the ceremony, she said.

"It was a lot of hard work," said Kelly Martin, 23, of Boonsboro, who received a Regents bachelor of arts degree.

Martin said she wants to teach elementary school after she earns a master's degree.

Graduating from Shepherd "is overwhelming, it's great," she said.

Joel Keck's parents and brother came from Richmond, Va., to see him receive his degree.

His father, James Keck, said his son is the first in the family to graduate from college.

"We are very proud of Joel," said his mother, Lisa Keck.

His brother, Ryan, said Joel came to Richmond to watch him receive his Eagle Scout award and he wanted to see him get his degree.

Joel's wife, Elena Keck, who came to America as a high school exchange student from Russia, captured him receiving his diploma on video.

"It's huge for us," said Joel Keck, who lives in Charles Town, W.Va., with his wife and three children.

Lynne Smith and U.S. Air Force Col. Alan Smith came from Centreville, Va., to watch their daughter, Brittany Smith, receive her degree.

Lynne Smith said her daughter is the first grandchild to graduate from college on her husband's side of the family.

"She is very shy, and we were worried to send her off to college, but she blossomed when she began at Shepherd," she said.

She said Brittany is a "true military kid" since the family lived all over the country, in England and in Guam, and that helped her adapt to Shepherd.

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