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Washington County Technical High School grads look to future, remember fallen friends

June 05, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Aaron Rodgers of Funkstown reflects on his future Tuesday prior to graduation exercises for Washington County Technical High School.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

A total of 213 students graduated from Washington County Technical High School Tuesday night in a class that marked several milestones, including $1.7 million that went to students in scholarships — the most in the history of the school, according to school officials.

Also for the first time, there were more women than men graduating, and there were no dropouts, fights or suspensions in the two-year period that the students attended the school, Principal Jeffrey E. Stouffer said during the commencement exercises held in Hagerstown Community College’s Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

But there was also sadness as Stouffer remembered four county high school students who were killed in accidents this year.

Quinn Hoover, who died after an early morning traffic accident March 18 near Clear Spring, was studying biomedical science at Tech High. Hoover, who was remembered in two moments of silence, was represented by a vacant chair behind the rows of seats for the other graduating students.

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A large photograph of him was placed in the chair, as was a cap and gown.

“I’m sure he is still with us, in each of our hearts,” said graduating keynote student speaker, David S. Seredich.

Also recognized in a moment of silence at the beginning of the ceremony were Brendon Edward Colliflower and Samantha Rae Kelly, two Williamsport High School seniors who were killed on Rench Road on May 5 after they were returning from a high school prom in Shepherdstown, W.Va., as well as Mitchell Ronald Akers, a Smithsburg High School senior who died after being involved in an accident while working at Municipal Stadium.

Colliflower, Kelly and Akers did not attend Tech High but many students at the school knew them, Stouffer said.

Stouffer praised the graduating students for their accomplishments, while Washington County Board of Education member Paul W. Bailey commended the students for their attendance rate of nearly 97 percent.

Bailey recognized parents in the audience whom he estimated had awakened their children about 2,500 times since they had been in elementary school.

“To the graduating students of Washington County Technical High School, this is truly your day to shine.

Tomorrow, when you step out in the real world, keep in mind this ‘real world’ is full of wonderful societal choices and high stakes consequences,” Stouffer said.

Krista M. Miller, the second keynote graduating student, said the graduates had become family after coming from different schools.

Miller also touched on sadness during the year and said the family “was not whole today. Remember, everything happens for a reason. Now let’s go out and change the world,” Miller said.

Valedictorian Rebecca Dunning did not speak during the ceremony, but she praised the programs offered at the technical school.

“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to graduating and moving on,” said Dunning, who is planning to attend Shepherd University.

Washington County Technical High School

Number of graduates: 213

Valedictorian: Rebecca Dunning

Salutatorian: Alexa Mills

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