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'Real world' awaits Clear Spring graduates

June 02, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com
  • Clear Spring High School Valedictorian of 2011 Tyler P. Brown speaks Thursday during graduation ceremonies.
By Chris Tilley, Staff Photographer

"Roughly 720 school days have passed since we began as freshmen of Clear Spring High School," Megan Micco told her 107 classmates,  dozens of teachers and hundreds of family and friends Thursday at the school's annual commencement ceremony.

During those days spent in diligent study, the world outside their classrooms endured significant struggles, Micco said.

Between Aug. 2007 and June 2011, war raged, recession debilitated economies and gasoline prices soared.

"From these few events the world seems intimidating," she said. "Though often daunting, our world holds more hope than meets the eye."

That "real world," as Micco called it, waited outside the doors of Clear Spring High for the Class of 2011.

Each graduate who crossed the stage took a symbolic journey into that world, Principal Michael Shockey said.

But just as no student had made it to graduation alone, neither would they venture into the daunting, intimidating, yet hopeful "real world" alone.  

Those 720 days of study armed each with knowledge, encouraged them with achievement and anchored them together even as they drift apart, class speakers said.

High school is more than just an institution to teach job skills or further academic education, salutatorian Matthew Blair said.

"It is a place to learn not only about our courses, but more importantly, about ourselves," he said.

It is a place to learn life's smaller, yet arguably important lessons, valedictorian Tyler Brown said.

"We have learned that through struggle comes confidence and a greater will to succeed," he said. "The fact that all of us are here today, accomplishing a goal that we started four years ago, shows that adversity cannot and will not ever be an obstacle we cannot overcome."

Graduation is also a time to acknowledge the successes enjoyed along the way, Blair said.

"We are sitting on this stage tonight to celebrate achievement," he said, achievement in the classroom, on the athletic field and the stage.

The Clear Spring Class of 2011 was rewarded for its achievements with more than $2.1 million in scholarships and awards, a guidance counselor announced Thursday.

Thursday's ceremony marked a new beginning for each graduate, complete with new challenges, new goals and new dreams, said Jacqueline Fischer, a member of the Washington County Board of Education.

"I wish you many interesting challenges, accomplished goals and successful dreams," she said.

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