BEVERLY-Eighty-three members of the Class of 2013 received diplomas during Saturday's commencement activities at Fort Frye High School in Beverly.
"This class is a little smaller than normal-we usually have around 90 graduates, but these kids are really outstanding, and this year's commencement went wonderfully," said Fort Frye principal Susan Rauch.
She said the grads were headed for a mix of post-high school experiences.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Fort Frye High graduates Tina Ward, left, and Hannah Willey, right, pose for a portrait with Ward’s cousin, 5-year-old Mattie Madigan, following Saturday’s commencement exercises at the high school.
"Some will be going into the military, others to trade schools, two- and four-year colleges, and some will be going directly into the workforce," Rauch said, noting most of those going to work were placed in jobs after taking courses at the Washington County Career Center.
"This group of kids have been just fabulous-and I'm really going to miss them," she added. "We've had a lot of great athletes this year, too."
One of those graduating athletes, softball standout Lexi Huck, is headed for the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
At a glance
Fort Frye High Class of 2013
Class motto: "Life isn't measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."-Hillary Cooper.
Class flower: Yellow Rose.
Class colors: Flamingo Pink and Black
Valedictorians: Caden Brooker, Amber Fulford, Micayla Hupp, and Allie Lawrence.
"I'm going on a softball scholarship, so I can keep playing ball and I plan to study nursing," she said. "But I've been here for six years now, and although this is a good day, I'm going to miss everyone."
Her friend and co-graduate Samantha Knotts only recently moved to the Fort Frye District from Parkersburg.
"We moved here last year, and I'm just getting close to everyone-but now they're all leaving," she said.
Knotts also plans to begin studying nursing in the fall at Washington State Community College.
Another graduating athlete, track team runner Tina Ward, noted Saturday would not be her last day with fellow students at Fort Frye High.
"We're still going to the regional meet in Lancaster Wednesday, so it's not totally over for some of us," she said.
Ward is going to Muskingum University near Cambridge in the fall.
"I'm considering an educa-
tion major, and I'm still undecided right now," she said. "But I'll probably be joining a running club there."
Her parents, Karla and Gary Ward of Lowell, said Muskingum was a good fit for the family.
"It's close enough that we can get there if we're needed, but also far enough away so that she can be independent," Karla said.
Conner Ogle of Coal Run is headed for the wild blue yonder next fall.
"I'm leaving for the U.S. Air Force," he said. "It's something I've always wanted to do-I'll begin my security forces training in San Antonio in August."
Ogle said he also plans to take college courses while in the military so he can eventually become an officer candidate.
He said the move from high school into the military will be bittersweet.
"I'll be working around here this summer, but it will probably be hard to leave in the fall," Ogle said.
Saturday's commencement was also the last for Fort Frye District Superintendent Tom Gibbs.
"It was a great graduation ceremony-Fort Frye is such a tight knit community of students-I can't say enough positives about these kids," he said.
Gibbs is resigning from the district to take an assistant superintendent position with Athens City Schools next fall.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed working with the Fort Frye District," he said. "And I encourage these kids to find what they love to do and pursue it as a career-that way it will seem a lot less like work. And whatever they do, I hope they endeavor to do the very best."