www.baltimoresun.com/explore/harford/news/ph-ag-harford-tech-grad-0613-20120608,0,5412814.story

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'...do the job right,' Harford Tech valedictorian tells classmates

BY MARISSA GALLO, mgallo@theaegis.com

12:12 AM EDT, June 9, 2012

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Harford Technical High School's Class of 2012 marked one of life's biggest milestones Friday evening during the school's 34th commencement ceremony.

Senior Cobras were excited, but a little nervous, while waiting for their big moment.

"I'm nervous I might fall off the stage," 17-year-old Sabrina Bahre said.

Bahre was hanging out with her friend, Jordy Testerman, 18, in the school's cafeteria, along with more than 250 students in black robes.

"It hasn't hit me yet," Testerman said. She is excited, however, to go to the beach after graduation.

Bahre, who was a part of the school's animal science program, said she will miss that the most.

"I'll miss seeing my friend every day," Testerman said. The silver lining, she continued, is that since she will be attending Harford Community College in the fall, she is sure she will see many Harford Tech alumni on the campus.

Testerman plans to major in early childhood education and hopes to one day run a thoroughbred horse-riding program for disabled children.

Naturally, Bahre, who will also attend HCC, said she wants to become a marine biologist and work with manatees one day.

Raquel Hockaday, 18, was another senior nervous to cross that stage.

When asked what she would miss most about high school, Hockaday got choked up when she answered the people in her sports medicine program.

"They're like a little family," she said.

Hockaday will continue in the field, studying exercise science to become a physical therapy when going to University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in the fall.

Emily Edmunds, 17, also intends to study exercise science with dreams of becoming a physical therapist one day.

"I'm excited to get it over with," she said about graduation.

Next to her in line was Alex Giannaras.

"I'm going to miss being with my friends in the hallway," the 18-year-old said about what he will miss most. "I won't see them anymore."

Giannaras will be a computer network engineering major at UMBC and Emily will also be in HCC's exercise science program.

During the ceremony, the students were given many pieces of advice from Harford County employees and Harford Tech alum.

Board of Education member Alysson Krchnavy gave bits of wisdom from what she called "the greatest hits from graduation speeches I've heard along the way."

"Get over yourselves," she began." You have to work for anything that's worthwhile."

The self-proclaimed procrastinating perfectionist told the students, "Perfection is not required to be successful, but progress is."

Sen. Barry Glassman addressed the "classy cobras" as well.

He gave a bit of a history lesson, telling the story of what George Washington said on the day he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief at the Maryland State House.

"Be a blessing to your community," Glassman said as he told the story, and take advantage of the freedom you have because of the people who sacrificed their lives to give it to you.

County Council President Billy Boniface asked the students to thank their parents, teachers and everyone who got them to where they were at that moment.

"You need to thank your teachers before you leave," he said. "One of them may play a big part in who you become tomorrow."

Class President Apple Ignacio said, "It is very hard to sum up the last four years of high school."

She said senior year "felt like a breeze," not because it was easy, but because it came and went too quickly.

"Today we are a family," she told her fellow graduates, "that know each other better than anyone else."

Also part of that family is Valedictorian Alex Lambert, who spoke about success.

"Success without effort becomes meaningless," he said. "Take your time and effort to do the job right."

James Lux, who graduated from Harford Tech in 1995, was awarded with the school's Distinguished Alumnus honor.

Because of a masonry class he hesitantly took his freshman year, Lux fell in love with the field and is now a superintendent in masonry.

As he began building small projects in class, Lux said he was "amazed at how much I liked it."

The mason has worked in the field since he left high school and said, "I have to give the school full credit" for where he is.

"I would not have ended up where I am without [the school]," Lux said.

Tina Mike, assistant vice president of financial education with APG Federal Credit Union, gave the graduating class a big task.

The new grandmother said: "I'm counting on you to make it a better world for [her grandson], for all of us."

Mike also gave many words of wisdom: "See your challenges as opportunities," was one. "Make good money decisions," was another.

Finally, she told the students, "Don't waste this time. It goes so fast."

That evening's graduation was extra special for Principal Charles Hagan.

Not only was he saying goodbye to the senior class, but also watching his daughter, Caroline, graduate.

"This group will never ever be complete again," he commented.

Hagan encouraged the students to do their best in their quest for success and help each other along the way.

"Positive peer pressure will not only make you great," he said, "but will make us great."