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North Hagerstown High graduates grateful for opportunities they had to learn and excel

June 07, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com
  • Noah Mun stands Friday during commencement ceremonies at North Hagerstown High School. Mun was being recognized with fellow seniors who have plans to join the military.
By Colleen McGrath / Staff Photographer

North Hagerstown High School graduates stepped into the future Friday at a commencement ceremony marked by happiness, nostalgia, tears and laughter.

There was loud applause for the 286 graduates and more than a few whoops of delight from the assorted parents and families cheering them on.

Valedictorian Caroline R. Bradford told the graduates to “remember that North High is always with you.”

“Remember that, at one point, tying our shoes or learning the alphabet was once a challenge .... ,” she said.

“Go out and master new challenges. If we survived all the trials of these years together, we can surely accomplish so much more in the future,” said Bradford, who is headed to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Salutatorian Margaret P. Manspeaker, who will be pursuing a college degree at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, said: “We came through those doors four years ago, a little awkward looking and probably very intimidated, but each with different perspectives, talents and goals.

“We sit here today not as carbon copies but as ... distinguished young people with different sets of accomplishments, whether they are in athletics, academics or the arts,” Manspeaker said.

The Class of 2013 at North High has earned in excess of $5.2 million in scholarship money, according to a school official.

Paul W. Bailey, vice president of the Washington County Board of Education, told the assembled parents that “after 17 or 18 years of child raising, you are now suddenly unemployed,” as the audience erupted in laughter.

As for the students, he reminded them of family members and friends, teachers and coaches who “lifted you up and provided much support.”

“Think for just a moment and reflect on all of those who have been at your side as you have come through these years of schooling,” Bailey said.

Graduating students said they were grateful for the many opportunities they had to learn and excel at North High.

Noah Mun, who is headed to the University of Maryland, College Park said he liked the spirit of camaraderie at North High, although he was happy to be done with school.

“At the same time, it is scary leaving your friends and family,” he said. “We have a lot of school spirit here, especially among the seniors.”

Tiffany Henson, who is headed to Mary Baldwin College in Virginia, said she was nervous as the commencement ceremony was about to begin.

“I’m afraid I am going to trip and fall,” she said, although her fears turned out to be unfounded.

Henson said one lesson she learned in high school was that it was not “all about the grades, although I did well. It is about the friendships and bonds you form, and the life experiences you have.”


North Hagerstown High School

Number of graduates: 286
Valedictorian: Caroline R. Bradford
Salutatorian: Margaret P. Manspeaker

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