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Assembly at North Hagerstown High honors seniors

April 26, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • North Hagerstown High School senior, Peyton Wallech, speaks to underclassmen about her high school experience during the school's first assembly. Seniors moving onto higher education give insight on their decisions in picking the right school and efforts to achieve their goals.
Colleen McGrath / Colleen McGrath

North Hagerstown High School senior Heidi Stasiowski warned underclassmen that if they did not work hard in their classes they would regret it by their senior year, which she said she does, at a school assembly in the auditorium Friday morning where seniors shared their post-graduation plans.

“I cared about my home life and my social life before my school life,” she told the crowd.

Stasiowski, 18, also told them that it is never too late to turn things around, which she said she worked toward doing after taking a college prep class her junior year.

“That’s when I really started thinking about it and when I really realized that I was not where I needed to be to go where I wanted to go,” she said. “When I got to my senior year, I worked really hard to get my GPA up the first semester, and I managed to get my GPA up a little bit, but that is hard.”

The assembly, which is in its first year, recognized 93 seniors at the school on the stage for their postgraduation plans. The names of all seniors who have committed to a college were read to the audience.

They were going as far south as Florida and as far north as Canada for college, but the colleges with the largest number of students committed were Hagerstown Community College and the University of Maryland at College Park.

Suzanne Bechtel, 17, who is undecided on where to attend college, talked to the underclassmen about the decision-making process.

“The college decision is really up to you, or to not even go to college,” she said. “Don’t go just because it’s expected.”

The assembly was for the entire school, said coordinator Lindsey Reynolds, who teaches English at North High.

“Today is really about changing our culture and what we celebrate,” she said. “We do a great job celebrating our student-athletes who are signing to play at the collegiate level, but we don’t do enough to recognize the students who have selected their college for academic reasons.”

Reynolds added the event is also for underclassmen to understand the importance of high school.

“We want the underclassmen to see that what they do these four years really matters,” she said. “That they don’t make decisions in their freshman and sophomore years that might limit them in their senior year.”

North High Principal Duane McNairn spoke about why high school is an important time to plan for the future and said that he did not think about it until a teacher asked him his senior year.

“I was totally clueless at that point, I had no idea what I was doing, I had no future for myself,” he said. “Until someone set me on my path and actually planted the seed in my head, only then is when I started thinking about what I was going to do once I walked across the stage and got the diploma in my hand.”

Underclassmen were also enlightened about the resources available to them at the school to prepare them for college.

Max Kross, 18, who is going to Ohio State in the fall, talked about the “diversity of classes” at the school.

“As a sophomore, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do past high school, and going into my junior year I happened to have an open slot in my schedule, and I filled it with Honors Introduction to Java Programming,” he said. “Thanks to that, I am now planning to major in computer science.”

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Editor's note: This story was changed on April 29 to correct the class Max Kross took to Honors Introduction to Java Programming.

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