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Arts school graduates have 'special kind of school spirit'

Principal Michael T. Thorsen calls the Class of 2012 the 'We' class

June 07, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • Elizabeth F. Fraser gets a hug from classmate Nathaniel Wachsmuth before commencement begins Thursday for graduates of Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Elizabeth J. Groenendyk moved to the area from northwest Iowa two years ago, and enrolled at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown as a junior.

At that time, she wasn’t sure what to expect. But Groenendyk fit in right away.

“Coming into Barbara Ingram as a new student was definitely an interesting experience, but it was so great,” she said. “Everybody was so nice to me.”

The valedictorian of the Class of 2012, Groenendyk and 24 of her classmates were commended for their excellence in the arts and academics Thursday night during commencement exercises at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown.

“Graduation from high school — once in a lifetime, right?” said Groenendyk, who will attend Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga., this fall to study Spanish, prior to the ceremony. “And to be able to be the valedictorian representing my class at Barbara Ingram just means a lot to me.”

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Almost every student will be moving on to college, having earned more than $1.3 million in scholarships, Principal Michael T. Thorsen said.

Thorsen calls the Class of 2012 the “We” class.

“This is the ‘We are Barbara Ingram’ (class),” he said. “These are the students who didn’t know each other at all three years ago. Now they are acting together, and they have a special kind of school spirit that gets developed when students are together for some time, rather than the individual schools ... where they came from.”

Guest speaker Elizabeth Schulze, music director and conductor of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, told the class that they are part of a “very special group of adventurists and pioneers,” and it’s up to them to shape the arts for years to come.

“You are going to define us going forward,” Schulze said in her address. “You have the power to decide how and what art will be for generations to come.”

Salutatorian Elizabeth F. Fraser said the 25 students have become like a family in just three short years since the school opened in 2009.

“As a family should, you have all taught me so many things that will be vital in making big decisions in my life, and inspired me to do what makes me happy,” she told her fellow classmates, pausing a moment to gather her emotions. “I certainly hope that I’ve been as important to help inspire you, too.”

Not only are they a family, but leaders as well, Fraser said.

“Every person in this room is a leader,” Fraser said. “We have helped and supported one another through the past three years, and helped inspire so many others to pursue the arts.”

Barbara Ingram School for the Arts
Number of graduates: 25
Valedictorian: Elizabeth Groenendyk
Salutatorian: Elizabeth Fraser

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