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Barbara Ingram School for the Arts 2013 graduating class is the first to go through all four years at school

Valedictorian Ariana Y. Seidman asked her fellow classmates to remember to keep the arts alive in whatever they do

June 06, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County School Board member Wayne Ridenour and Matthew Murray share a laugh after Murray received his graduation diploma from Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Thursday evening.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

In 2009, a group of Washington County students about to make the transition into high school made a bold choice to break away from their home schools to attend a new arts school in downtown Hagerstown.

To focus on their love of the arts or to start with a brand new group of kids — whatever the reason — it was the perfect choice for those 64 students.

And on Thursday night, that Class of 2013 received their diplomas and graduated from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts before a full house crowd at The Maryland Theatre.

The Class of 2013 earned a total of $3.8 million in scholarships for higher education as they embark on the next stage of their lives. But, as Principal Michael Thorsen pointed out, they are also a special group because they are the first ones to go through all four years of high school together at BISFA.

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“They are a very, very talented and successful class,” Thorsen said.

During her address, Valedictorian Ariana Y. Seidman asked her fellow classmates to think about what life would be like without the arts.

Seidman said the high-tech iPhones in people’s pockets had to be designed by someone with artistic talent. The music, movies and television shows that people watch on them would not exist without the arts, she said.

Some students will one day move on to careers in the field of arts while others will not, but Seidman urged all of her classmates to remember to keep the arts alive in whatever they do.

“No matter what we choose to do, the arts will be an important part of making our careers meaningful and enjoyable for ourselves and others,” she said. “Perhaps the next Shakespeare is sitting among us ... or maybe the next Steve Jobs. I can’t wait to find out.”

Thorsen — who was the first principal of the school when it opened in 2009 and will be retiring later this month — said students who come through BISFA seem to form a special bond with one another during their time there, helping them “achieve much more than they could individually.”

Joining Seidman at the podium during the ceremony, co-Salutatorians Katlin M. Recabo and David J. Hills took a few moments to remember the past four years and share some memories with their classmates as well as hundreds of family and friends in the audience.

The evening’s guest speaker was Elizabeth Morgan, the former Washington County Public Schools superintendent and major proponent of seeing the school come into existence on South Potomac Street.

“You were among the first students in Washington County that had choice in the high school you wanted to attend, and I believe both personally and professionally that having this choice has made all the difference in your education,” Morgan said.

“Because choice, in my opinion, leads to motivation, which leads to success.”

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