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Hedgesville High graduates largest class in its history

May 29, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER
  • Hedgesville High School graduate Katie Pill gets a hug from her uncle, Rick Pill, Saturday during Saturday's commencement at Shepherd University. Rick Pill handed out diplomas, and is a member of the Berkeley County Board of Education.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

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    SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The largest class in Hedgesville High School's history graduated Saturday morning at Shepherd University's Butcher Athletic Center.

    Hedgesville High School principal Don Dellinger said the 2010 class of 356 graduates tops the 109 years in the school's commencement history.

    Dellinger said this is the class that has displayed outstanding leadership through their efforts and were active participants in school events and in the community.

    "They led by example," Dellinger said.

    The class had 173 students who graduated with honors -- 40 summa cum laude, 56 magna cum laude and 77 cum laude graduates, high school assistant principal Donna VanMetre said.

    Magna cum laude graduate Allen Barnhart had his parents, grandparents and godmother in attendance for the ceremony.

    Parents Lois and Randy Barnhart of Falling Waters, W.Va., said Allen, 17, will attend Concord University in Athens, W.Va., to study business management in the fall.

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"You want them to turn out better than yourself," Randy Barnhart said.

Grandmother Diana Barnhart said Allen's graduation was special to them because he overcame cancer at age 10.

Lois Barnhart said Allen was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma and had surgery to remove a growth and then received chemotherapy.

"But he did not miss much school," she said.

One of the commencement highlights that the packed stadium applauded was the senior choir performance of "For Good," a song from the musical "Wicked." Anissa Myers and Brooke McCormick were the lead female vocalists, said choir director Heather Watkins.

"This is the first year to put the seniors on their own," Watkins said. "They are a very talented and powerful group."

Howard and Judy Lanham of Hedgesville were on hand to see their granddaughter Kathryn Lanham receive her diploma.

Kathryn, 18, lives with them."We are very close to her," Judy Lanham said.

The Lanhams lost their son, Kathryn's father, nine years ago. "We are sorry he is not here to see this," Judy Lanham said.

Howard Lanham is a 1963 Hedgesville High School graduate, he said.

Summa cum laude graduate Julia Buhagiar, 17, said she will attend the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va., in the fall to study voice performance. She is going to work this summer at Virginia's Dulles International Airport as a student ambassador.

Her senior year "was a blast. It flew by," she said.

Class president and summa cum laude graduate Lakyn Hose ranked first in the 2010 class.

Hose, 18 of Hedgesville, said she will attend West Virginia University to study international relations. She then plans to get her master's at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

"Hedgesville will always be part of us," magna cum laude graduate and class vice president Joe Reidy, 18, of Hedgesville, said of the theme of his speech.

He has a summer intern job with the G.O.P.'s Underwood Institute in Charleston, W.Va., and will attend WVU in the fall to study political science. He said he wants to be a West Virginia senator.

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