314 graduate from South Carroll High CARROLL COUNTY EDUCATION

June 21, 1993|By Maureen Rice | Maureen Rice,Contributing Writer

Four years of school were condensed into an hour and a half of memories for the 314 members of the 26th graduating class of South Carroll High School.

The young and the old, the casual and the designer-dressed, gathered in a force 4,500 strong to witness the culmination of years of effort. Outside the building were cars decorated with balloons and banners reading "Congratulations!"

The earnest notes of "Pomp and Circumstance" hung in the air as the class, in robes and mortarboards, marched in pairs to their seats in a central square of the Western Maryland College gymnasium Saturday night. A panel of teachers, administrators, school board members, a county commissioner, assistant principals and the school principal watched benignly and welcomed two of the three valedictorians to the podium.

David T. Booz, principal at the school, opened the evening with a welcome to the guests and valedictorians.

"Three of our students achieved straight A's for their entire four years," he said, joking, "My parents didn't have to worry about that."

Jeanette Michelle Schmitz, one of the valedictorians, could not be present due to other obligations, he explained, but Julie May Hart and Nicole Robitaille were presented with a plaque, letter and medallion as reward for their success. Together they delivered a testimony to the memories of the seniors and the promise of their futures.

"School is the foundation of memories and friendships," Ms. Hart said. "Riding the school buses, learning to drive, how much time we spent together. These are some of the most memorable years of our lives -- keep them with you always.

"Tonight bridges the gap, the shelter of parental guidance and the world of responsibility and decisions."

Ms. Robitaille took up the thread. "Today is a new beginning," she remarked, then described a moving story from one of her teachers, who had left an arranged tour of Europe to wander among the people of the city, and found friendships that were more rewarding than the museums the other tour members rushed through.

"We have done the expected for the past 13 years," Ms. Robitaille continued. "Do not allow yourself to be caught up in what everyone else is doing."

Mr. Booz then introduced Robert L. Foor-Hogue, one of the teachers in South Carroll's science department.

"I was terrified in my bones to speak tonight," Mr. Foor-Hogue told the seniors, "but to be successful you must conquer your fears and rise to the occasion. Don't forget your responsibilities to give your abilities to your communities, for success will be hollow without it."

Five international exchange students who graduated with the class were introduced and spoke warmly of their experiences in the United States.

The valedictorians then announced the names and seniors marched decorously across the podium to shake hands and receive their diplomas and a yellow rose. Some gleefully waved them in the air to the wild cheering of family and friends while parents waved frantically, snapped pictures and focused their camcorders.

Mr. Booz took the stage to thank the parents for their years of effort and to ask the seniors to move the tassels from left to right as a symbol of their graduation. Many did, but others threw their mortarboards in the air in a kaleidoscope of jubilation.

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