UNIONTOWN — Unlike many seniors, Angie Graybill has known since last fall which four-year college she will attend after graduation.
Angie, one of Francis Scott Key High School's two valedictorians, applied to Western Maryland College through its early-decision program. By applying for an early decision, Angie agreed to make WMC her only choice.
"It's a commitment on the part of the institution and a commitment on the part of the student," said Martha O'Connell, WMC's director of admissions. "It's pleasant for us that Angie had us for her first choice."
Not only was Angie accepted, but she also received a WMC Trustee Scholarship, which will cover next year's tuition of $12,505.The 18-year-old said she plans to commute from her Taneytown home her freshman year.
About 200 county high school students attend WMC as undergraduates each year. As county residents, they receive a $1,500 scholarship, as part of a joint venture between the college and Carroll businesses.
"I applied only to Western Maryland because it'sclose to home and I really like the school," said Angie, who plans to become a secondary school English teacher.
Angie, the daughter of Allen and Betty Graybill, is among 169 students who graduated from Francis Scott Key High School during a ceremony at WMC yesterday. Four foreign exchange students also participated in the ceremony but didnot receive diplomas.
"I'm ready to get out," Angie said. "It's been hard to concentrate thinking about graduation and college. I feelconfident I can handle classes in college."
Angie has prepared herself well. She has pursued a college preparation track during her four years of high school -- one of three avenues state Superintendent Joseph L. Shilling would like to see Maryland secondary school students follow.
Shilling, responding to a task force report on high school graduation requirements, wants students to prepare for college ora skilled job (through career and technology programs) or both during their high school years.
The recommendations are before the state Board of Education for consideration and are expected to be discussed at its June 26 meeting.
"The basic gist of the task force report was to find a way to make sure all students who graduate either areprepared for college or significant employment -- not just flipping hamburgers," said Larry Chamblin, a state Department of Education spokesman.
Angie has been on a college track since middle school. Shetook advanced courses in English, math and Spanish as an eighth-grader at Northwest Middle School.
Throughout high school, she maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and took college prep courses in English, math, social studies and sciences like chemistry and physics.
High school has not been all academics, though. Angie, who works part time at the Taneytown branch of the Carroll County Public Library, isvice president of the senior class, president of the National Honor Society and captain of the field hockey team.
Sue Albaugh, FSK's guidance office secretary, described Angie as the perfect student.
"She's been a really involved student," Albaugh said. "She's just oneof those great all-around kids. She gets involved and does real wellat anything she does."
Angie worked with Albaugh as a guidance aide for two years, helping with secretarial tasks and errands.
It was a volunteer position -- meaning she received no credit or pay for her work.
As graduation approached, Angie was still working on hervaledictory speech. She said she planned to speak about the "little problems" she and her classmates have worked out as they climbed the academic ladder. And about "how things have changed in the world and how they will change through college," she said.
One thing that has not changed is her desire to be a teacher.
"I've always thought I'd be a teacher in elementary education," she said. "But English hasinterested me, and I like English better than other subjects."
She hopes to teach in Carroll County after she earns her degree.
"I've lived here all my life," she said. "I would love to teach here."