North Hagerstown High students told to focus on journey, not just destination

June 08, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • North High classmates Michael Edwards, back left, Blake Lyles, back center, Jared Line, back right, and Sergio Galvan, front center, pose for a picture taken by Chad Feigley in the gym before their graduation ceremony at North Hagerstown High School Friday.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

Draped in their red gowns, Benjamin Shuster and Edward Beachley took the podium together Friday morning — and got the full-house crowd laughing inside North Hagerstown High School’s auditorium.

The tandem, North High’s Class of 2012 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, went back and forth, alternating every few words in their opening remarks.

“But no, we would not do that because that would be...,” Beachley said.

“Very annoying,” Shuster quickly chimed in, prompting widespread laughter.

Shuster and Beachley were two of 266 students to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas during North High’s 56th annual commencement ceremony.

Beachley talked to his fellow graduates about the importance of time management as they progress through their lives.

Many people use the excuse that they simply “couldn’t find the time” to accomplish something, but if time is budgeted and spent wisely, everyone can accomplish everything they dream, he said.

“Wasted time is like purchasing stock in Facebook,” he said, garnering more laughs from the crowd.


Shuster followed suit by reminding his classmates that it’s important to not only manage time well for such endeavors as work, but  equally important to find time for yourself.

Using a metaphor from author Stephen R. Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Shuster said everyone has to find the best method of “sharpening our saws.”

“Find that thing that recharges you, and when you do, make sure you always spend time doing it,” he said. “It’s important to recharge your batteries. Don’t get so caught up in dreams and careers that you neglect to sharpen the saw. While you may always be looking toward the final destination, don’t forget to enjoy the journey.”

So far, 78 North High graduates have earned merit-based scholarship and grant offers worth more than $3.8 million for furthering their education, school counselor John P. Gest said.

After unveiling her traditional countdown of reasons “why this graduating class will be successful,” Principal Valerie A. Novak said the Class of 2012 was the largest group yet to successfully complete International Baccalaureate testing in Washington County since the program began. They also accumulated 26,299 service hours in the community, she said.

County Board of Education member Karen J. Harshman told graduates that they have reached the “first rung of your success.”

“You have a right to be here,” Harshman said. “So, Class of 2012, go out and change the world.”

North Hagerstown High School

Number of graduates: 266 (includes four dual graduates with Washington County Technical High School) 

Valedictorian: Benjamin Shuster

Salutatorian: Edward Beachley

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