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Speaker: North High grads will remember true friends and greatest teachers

June 03, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • The class of 2011 listens to the valedictorian speak Friday during North Hagerstown High School graduation at North High.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

What is a Hub?

W. Edward Forrest, vice president of the Washington County Board of Education, said Friday during the North Hagerstown High School graduation ceremony that he hears that question all the time.

"Hubs are the teachers and staff who come early, stay late and reach out personally to help support and encourage students of all academic levels," Forrest said.

"Hubs are involved in their school and community. Hubs are champions on the field and in the classroom .... Hubs rally around and lend a shoulder to students who have suffered the loss of a parent or friend in the community."

The North Hagerstown High School Class of 2011 gathered in the gym for one last time to joke and exchange hugs before they lined up to make the march into the auditorium.

It was one of the last memories they would share together as a class — even if one of those memories was of being frisked by school officials to make sure the students weren't hiding anything mischievous under their gowns.

Salutatorian Laura M. Wagner told her classmates and a capacity crowd that spilled into the hallways that she was certain some high school memories would fade more quickly than others.

"And as we all transition into the next phase of our lives, whether that means going to college or serving in the armed services or entering the workforce, we will forget what now seems unforgettable," Wagner said.

"We won't remember the chaos of the crowded hallways, we won't remember what grade we got in biology, we won't remember how slowly the lunch line moved ... (but) some memories will remain forever lodged in our beings: Our true friends will stay close to our hearts, our greatest teachers will linger on our minds and, most importantly, the knowledge that failure is just a temporary setback on the road to success will be rooted in our souls."

School officials praised the Class of 2011 as devoted young adults who totaled 26,299 hours of community service and amassed more than $4.2 million in scholarships. The dozen or so students who were about to leave for military service were asked to stand and immediately thanked by a loud round of applause.

Valedictorian Qijun Steven Wang said that like the 12,000 parts of a piano that are needed to produce just one note, each of his classmates played an instrumental role in defining their high school experience.

"I am certain that at our 20-year reunion, we will return to our alma mater not only as conquerors of the world, but also as maestros of a beautiful symphony," Wang said.

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