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Hedgesville grads include National Merit finalists

May 26, 2012|By TRISH RUDDER | trishr@herald-mail.com
  • Hedgesville High School graduate Maddy Crawford, left, meets with her boyfriend Joe Gentile, right, minutes prior to walking into commencement Saturday morning at Shepherd University's Butcher Center. Gentile was serving as a junior escort for commencement.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — With two National Merit Scholarship finalists among them plus $3 million awarded in scholarships, the Hedgesville High School Class of 2012 had a good year.

The school’s commencement was held Saturday morning at Shepherd University’s Butcher Center, where the class of 344 students received their high school diplomas.

The class included 60 summa cum laude, 55 magna cum laude and 51 cum laude graduates, Hedgesville Principal Ron Lyons said.

“This class is very academically oriented,” he said.

Michaelene Wright, 17, and Andrew Baker, 18, received two of the 15,000 National Merit Scholarships awarded to students nationwide.

Michaelene will attend West Virginia University to study history and economics, “and then law school,” she said.

One of her best memories this year was her work with the school-based Junior Civitan Club.

“It was an honor being president,” Michaelene said.

Andrew will head to WVU to study engineering.

“Graduating is great, but it’s kind of a bittersweet moment,” he said.

Class President Carrie Arvin, 17, will attend Shepherd University to study biology.

“Be courageous in what you do,” Carrie said in her address to the class. “Be the seekers of knowledge, and you will have success.”

Before commencement, Carrie said her class is “overly united,” and one reason for that was the loss of fellow classmate Tristan Evarts, who died in a car accident last year.

Carrie’s mother, Cindy Arvin, said Carrie wants to be a veterinarian, and has been accepted in Shepherd’s honors program.

“She’s a wonderful girl with high standards and good family morals,” Cindy Arvin said.

Matthew McClung, 18, is headed to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, to study sound recording technology.

He said the best part of this year was to enjoy the freedom of being a senior.

Larry and Peggy Engel said they were “excited and very proud” to see daughter Jessica Engel, 18, graduate. Jessica will attend Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg, W.Va.

“We are thrilled beyond belief,” said Peggy Ilnicki, mother of graduate Adam Ilnicki, 17, who also will attend Blue Ridge CTC.

The senior class was “a joy to work with and made my job very easy,” Lyons said. “This class has the potential to do great things.”

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