Class of '94 ends era at Wilde Lake

June 05, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

The last call of the Wilde sounded Friday night at an emotional, high-spirited commencement ceremony at Wilde Lake High School, as 175 students became the final class to graduate from "The School That Makes Waves."

Wilde Lake's 22nd commencement ceremony was the last that will take place at the doughnut-shaped school on Trumpeter Road, which opened in 1971 as a nationally recognized model school for the sons and daughters of the New Town pioneers.

The building is due to be demolished later this summer to make way for a new, modern three-story structure. Next year's senior class will graduate from the new River Hill High School, which Wilde Lake students will occupy until a new Wilde Lake opens in 1996.

The end of an era was not lost on the graduates or speakers at Friday night's ceremony.

Irene Silas, a graduating senior, reminisced about hanging on "The Rail," a curved steel beam that encircles the media center, and congregating in the commons area near the cafeteria during recess.

"The freshmen next year will never know the Wilde Lake we know," she said. "We are the last class to know Wilde Lake" as it is now.

Superintendent Michael E. Hickey told the standing-room-only audience that he immediately developed a kinship with the school when he arrived as superintendent in 1984.

"This Wilde Lake created a legacy [for] high schools for years to come," he said.

And school board member Deborah Kendig, who joked that she had to arm wrestle to win a coveted speaking spot at Wilde Lake's graduation, urged students to apply what they learned at the school. "Be true to the spirit of 'The Lake,' " she said.

The ceremony began with male students in green caps and gowns and female students in white marching from the rear of the auditorium to the stage, illuminated by camera flashes.

Parents clutched tissues and dabbed their eyes, straining their necks to see their sons and daughters take their place beside administrators, teachers and other dignitaries, including James Rouse, Columbia's founder.

Four of this year's top graduates were highly motivated young women who successfully juggled a heavy load of schoolwork, community service, sports and extracurricular activities.

They included Shirin Sinnar, the Harvard-bound, straight-A student who served as captain of the "It's Academic" team and won a $10,000 scholarship for an essay on U.S. foreign relations. She also edited the school newspaper, the Paw Print, and was on the speech and debate team.

"There were times when you question whether what you're doing is leaving you with enough personal time," she said before the ceremony. But "compared to some other people I know, I didn't do a lot of activities, but I devoted a lot of time to what I did do."

Another top graduate was Carrie Chao, lacrosse team and soccer team co-captain, National Honor Society member and senior class secretary.

"I did a lot of stuff in high school, but you can't take on everything," she said. "You have to prioritize and do things you enjoy. Then you will do things well."

Stephanie Sharps, a National Achievement Finalist, won the Faculty Award for distinguished service, commitment and excellence. She will attend Hampton University in Virginia this fall on a full scholarship.

"I've always been a goal-oriented person," said the 17-year-old Columbia student, who aspires to be a doctor. "I always knew what I wanted to do. The only pressure that was put on me was the pressure I put on myself."

Also among the high-achievers was Natalie Froman, a Maryland Distinguished Scholar semifinalist and senior class president who was named to the all-county, -metro and -state teams for soccer.

"I'm pretty happy that . . . several of the people who excelled in our class are girls," she said. "It reflects the strength of women in our class and the fact that we're going to be the future. It says a lot about how society is going to be."

Of this year's Wilde Lake graduates, 70 percent are headed to four-year colleges and 18 percent are headed to two-year colleges. Two percent will enlist in the military, while 7 percent will start work. Another 3 percent are undecided.

Among this year's graduates, three are National Merit Finalists, while four are Maryland Distinguished Scholar Finalists. One is a National Hispanic Scholar, and two are National Achievement Finalists. Two others are Advanced Placement Scholars.

Among the other notable graduates were Njeri Colbert, a young woman who received an appointment to West Point; Emma van der Donk, an exchange student who passed state functional tests to earn a Maryland high school diploma; and Molly Norton, senior class vice president and granddaughter of Rouse Co. founder James Rouse.



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