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Graduation bittersweet for Greencastle-Antrim High School's Class of 2013

June 08, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Savannah Fritz, senior class president and valedictorian for the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2013 gives her graduation address Saturday at Kaley Field in Greencastle.
By Colleen McGrath / Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — It was a bittersweet graduation for Greencastle-Antrim High School’s Class of 2013.

For the 228-member class, the absence of one graduate was not far from anyone’s mind.

As the seniors walked to Kaley Field for Saturday’s commencement, they wore orange ribbons pinned to their graduation gowns in honor of Marita Logan Shaffer.

Shaffer died as a result of injuries suffered in a June 1 car accident near Mercersburg, Pa.

“Her passing, as heartbreaking as it is, is an important reminder how precious and how fleeting this life is,” Pastor Mark S. Durniak said during the invocation.

Everyone observed a moment of silence to honor Shaffer.

Her twin brother, Roger Michael Shaffer Jr., who will attend Penn State Mont Alto, accepted her diploma on behalf of the family.

Senior Class President and Valedictorian Savannah Noelle Fritz focused her speech on having an attitude of gratitude.

“Remember to thank those who have guided us,” she said. “Our parents have always been our biggest cheerleaders.”

She also borrowed some words of wisdom from middle school Principal Mark Herman.

“He ended the morning announcements by saying, ‘Make it a great day or not — that choice always belongs to you,’ and the choice really does belong to you and no one else,” said Fritz, who will attend Harvard University and study mathematics.

Salutatorian Raeven Alan Cogan encouraged his fellow graduates to be true to themselves as they embark on their next adventure.

“Joe Dirt once said, ‘Life’s a garden. Dig it,’” Cogan said. “To me, that means life is more than just a series of achievements ... We all have a limited amount of time on this planet.”

Chase your own dreams, not someone else’s dream, he said.

“In the words of Ferris Bueller, ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,’” said Cogan, who will attend Penn State University and study computer engineering.

Commencement speaker and 2009 GAHS graduate T.J. Bard told members of the Class of 2013 to live outside their comfort zone.

“God gives us all the simple, most irreplaceable possession, and that is our life. We each have one life here on Earth,” Bard said. “While it may vary in length, it is one frame of time to make a difference to impact others and to possibly change the world.”

Bard said he decided he would live by two rules.

“I would never say no out of nervousness or intimidation to any opportunity put in front of me,” he said. “I would challenge myself to live the life I was given outside of my comfort zone.”

After the diplomas were handed out and the deluge of Silly String flew into the air, Ashlyn Pine was ready for the summer to begin.

“I’m ready to get out of here,” said Pine, who plans to enroll at Hagerstown Community College. “I want to go and enjoy my life.”

Kelly Koons was satisfied with a few photos of her daughter, Amanda.

“I’m so proud,” Koons said about her daughter, who is attending Hagerstown Community College and studying criminal justice. “I’m happy, but sad, too, that my little girl is growing up.”

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