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Ceremony held for summer school graduates

July 29, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE

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    Last spring, Teddy Gossard was ready to quit school.

    He was getting "fed up" and "irritated" with his performance and having difficulty paying attention in class at Smithsburg High School, he said.

    But his friends and family wouldn't quit on him and motivated him to keep working toward his high school diploma, said Gossard, 19, of Cavetown.

    "They talked to me and I realized I made it this far. Why quit now?" Gossard said shortly after graduating Thursday and receiving his high school diploma.

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Gossard was one of 23 students to complete summer school and was one of many to attend Thursday's graduation ceremony at South Hagerstown High School.

The graduates' stories were as varied as the different school colors of their graduation robes.

Some attended the summer program to graduate early or complete a graduation credit, and some went through the program because they fell behind academically or had disciplinary issues, said Darrell Marriott, summer school principal/coordinator. Summer school classes were held at various schools in the county.

Now that he's tackled high school, Gossard said he plans to join the Navy, where he can "make somebody of myself," and go to college.

"Very, very proud of him," said Gossard's uncle, Garie Shawyer Sr.

"Lot of push. Lot of hard times. He kind of gave up there for a while," Shawyer said.

Luna Jefferson said she needed just one day of summer school to complete algebra II so she could graduate.

She plans to study sports management at Sullivan College so she can be a sports agent. Jefferson, 19, was a shooting guard and team captain for South Hagerstown High School.

"This is one of the highest points in a parent's life," Shanta Pickett said of her daughter Luna's graduation.

Brothers Dustin and Cody Armstrong graduated together Thursday. Both had transferred from Paw Paw (W.Va.) High School to Williamsport High School and had to complete course work due to the different graduation requirements in Maryland.

Dustin, 19, said it was pretty cool to graduate with his younger brother. He plans to join the military, while Cody, 18, said he hopes to find work in construction or landscaping.

Williamsport resident Josh Cline, 19, plans to join the Army and become a military policeman.

He attended summer school after falling behind academically, but found the summer program worthwhile, he said.

"It means I'm finally starting my life after two years extra of high school," Cline said.

Smithsburg High School graduate Ali Emerick, 17, plans to go to Hagerstown Community College and hopes to transfer to the University of Maryland, College Park. She's exploring career options in nursing and graphic design.

Ali said she went to summer school so she could graduate early, in three years. She said she wanted to get away from the drama of high school and go to college.

While it was difficult getting up at 6:45 a.m. to get ready for summer school, Ali said the program had smaller classes and "less drama."

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