Per­ryville High grads en­cour­aged to em­brace op­por­tu­ni­ties

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRIANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— Roars and screams came from the Per­ryville High School foot­ball field for the Class of 2016 Fri­day night.

“I’m su­per ex­cited,” Eric An­drews, 17, said about grad­u­at­ing.

In Septem­ber 2012, An­drews was rid­ing his bike dur­ing a friend’s birthday party when he was hit by a ve­hi­cle. He ended up in a med­i­cally in­duced coma, but be­gan to im­prove to­ward the end of Oc­to­ber.

“We didn’t think this day would ever hap­pen,” said Re­becca Bieden­back, An­drews’ mother.

She said in Oc­to­ber 2012 doc­tors at Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal said her youngest of three chil­dren would be in a veg­e­ta­tive state and was ad­vised to start mak­ing end-of-life de­ci­sions. In­stead, he de­fied “all the odds,” has gone on to grad­u­ate high school and will now go onto col­lege, she said.

Nancy Ad­di­son, Bieden­back’s mother and An­drews’ grand­mother, said she is proud of him for grad­u­at­ing and how far he’s come since the in­ci­dent. “I’m just so proud of him,” she said. An­drews said his plan is to work at

PER­RYVILLE

the Ch­e­sa­peake House rest cen­ter on In­ter­state 95 and at­tend Ge­orge Ma­son Univer­sity in the fall of 2018. An­drews said he and his fam­ily will go for an ori­en­ta­tion and walk around the cam­pus in Novem­ber.

An­drews said he as­pires to be­come a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist be­cause of the or­deal he went through. While re­cov­er­ing, a phys­i­cal ther­apy stu­dent helped him get through his ex­er­cises by dis­tract­ing him and tak­ing his mind off the pain.

Richard An­drews, An­drews’ fa­ther, said his son’s grad­u­a­tion is “crazy spe­cial.”

De­bra Aiken, Richard’s mother and An­drews’ grand­mother, said she is proud as well.

Prin­ci­pal Charles Helm re­ported Fri­day that the Per­ryville High Class of 2016, which listed 202 grad­u­at­ing stu­dents, earned over $4.9 million in schol­ar­ships. He also re­flected on some of the ac­com­plish­ments of the school year, such as the soft­ball team win­ning the state cham­pi­onship af­ter an un­de­feated sea­son and a suc­cess­ful “Lit­tle Mer­maid” theater pro­duc­tion.

He en­cour­aged stu­dents as they get older to look back at mem­o­ries made in high school, ap­pre­ci­ate the teacher, coach or coun­selor who touched their lives, and ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­ni­ties given to them by friends and fam­ily.

“As you move for­ward in life, I en­cour­age and chal­lenge each of you to em­brace each and ev­ery op­por­tu­nity pre­sented to you,” he added.

Vale­dic­to­rian Trevor Fell grad­u­ated with a 4.89 weighted GPA and will study com­puter science at Ford­ham Univer­sity in the fall. He gave a speech about how plans in life may change af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

“We shouldn’t rush to get to the fin­ish line, but rather en­joy the ride, this crazy roller­coaster that is life,” Fell said.

Fell said some may leave friends be­hind and ex­pe­ri­ence things that may seem fright­en­ing, but grad­u­a­tion is also a chance to start a new chap­ter in life. He urged stu­dents to not be held back by fears, but to per­se­vere and have open minds.

“If you look for the light you can of­ten find it, but if you look for the dark, that is by all you’ll ever see,” he said.

Mean­while, salu­ta­to­rian Mor­gan Hazel grad­u­ated with a 4.84 weighted GPA and will study bi­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Mary­land Col­lege Park Hon­ors Col­lege. She ad­vised her class­mates not to rush grow­ing up and em­brace the pre­sent in­stead.

She said that while some have had jobs and pay taxes, she and the Class of 2016 are still kids. She’s learned a lot in school, but she doesn’t know to pay a mort­gage or take out a loan.

“Be a kid as long as you can,” Hazel said. “Be­cause who re­ally wants to grow up any­way?”

Dur­ing child­hood, we all have fan­tasies about what it’s like to be older and dream about po­ten­tial fu­ture oc­cu­pa­tions, Hazel said.

“I en­cour­age you to hope, dream and in­spire,” she said.

Paula Phillips and her hus­band, An­drew, said they are both proud of their daugh­ter, Ashely, the last child in the fam­ily to grad­u­ate. Ash­ley will at­tend Ce­cil Col­lege to be­come a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal tech­ni­cian in the fall.

Mean­while, Re­bekah Han­shaw, 17, also was look­ing for­ward to life af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

“I am ex­tremely ex­cited. I feel the fu­ture holds a lot,” she said.

She said her plans af­ter grad­u­a­tion in­clude ma­jor­ing in crim­i­nal jus­tice and play vol­ley­ball at Har­ford Com­mu­nity Col­lege and even­tu­ally trans­fer­ring to Tem­ple Univer­sity.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

Per­ryville High School grad­u­ates toss their caps at the end of the cer­e­mony.

BY JES­SICA IAN­NETTA/JIAN­NETTA@CE­CIL­WHIG.COM

Eric An­drews, cen­ter, poses with fam­ily mem­bers af­ter re­ceiv­ing his diploma from Per­ryville High School.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

An Elk­ton High School grad­u­ate poses af­ter re­ceiv­ing her diploma dur­ing Fri­day’s com­mence­ment cer­e­mony.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

Per­ryville High School se­niors sing dur­ing the school’s grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

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