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Waynesboro Area Senior High grads describe classmates as 'family'

June 07, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Waynesboro Area Senior High School graduates show off their excitement as they walk down the halls of their school to the graduation ceremony on Tuesday.
By Chris Tilley, Staff Photographer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Waynesboro Area Senior High School's Class of 2011 — described by its members as especially close-knit — graduated Tuesday in a ceremony filled with nostalgia and thoughts of the future.

"Today is not an ending. It's simply a new beginning with endless possibility," Class President Derek M. Null said to graduates in the school gymnasium.

Karissa Stoner and Jaela Walton, both 18, said their classmates bonded over the years.

"We're all close friends," Stoner said.

"We're more like family," Walton said.

Jeffery Stiff, 18, said he feels Waynesboro didn't have the cliques found at some schools.

"I always thought the way everyone treated each other was really nice," he said.

Stiff and Connor Ross, 18, intend to serve in the U.S. Air Force.

"I'm going to miss my friends," Ross said.

Graduation involves a sense of accomplishment, according to Jordon Richardson, 18.

"It's like we're finally done with high school, and now it's the real world," she said.

Superintendent James Robertson opened the 129th annual graduation ceremony with a moment of silence for the class' difficult experiences, including the death of 16-year-old Angalena K. Robinson in a July 2010 vehicle crash.

"Each diploma is a lighted match, and each of you is a fuse. Each one of you is already a bright light in the lives of your family and friends. However, you must realize you can be a bright light in our society," Robertson said.

Valedictorian Anissa D. Freeman thanked a host of people for their support, including parents and teachers.

"I challenge you, Class of 2011, to put your full 100 percent in your future endeavors," she said in her address.

Jessica Updegraff, 18, said her volunteer time with Special Olympics helped her decide on a career path.

"I want to work with Franklin Learning Center with the special-needs children," she said.

Richardson will study exercise physiology at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa. Her friend Kristen Russ, 17, plans to study occupational therapy at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

Both girls said they'll miss friends and look back fondly on their senior year on the basketball team.

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