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People from all over the county and beyond will converge on McDaniel College's campus this week to celebrate the accomplishments of students from the county's high schools as they accept their diplomas and move swiftly into the next phases of their lives.

Millions of dollars of scholarships, a large majority academic, have been awarded to the county's seniors toward the rising costs of a collegiate education. Many are taking advantage of their opportunities to further their education. Some will spend a few years at Carroll Community College and others will go straight to a four year school.

Others are moving into technical or skill careers and many will start their careers in the military. In any event, we as a community can be proud of the accomplishments of these students and encouraged by the future that awaits them.

What an incredible year in sports for this graduating class. Across the county, our high school brought home state championships in girls soccer, boys and girls lacrosse, boys track, wrestling and many individual wrestling and track state titles. We had a quarterback who set county, conference and state records with astronomical statistics in attempts, completions and touchdowns leading his team to an undefeated regular season, county championship and a deep run in the playoffs.

A softball player who was among the county leaders in batting led her team to an undefeated county championship and an 18-1 record. A track star ran the fastest time for a high schooler in the country in the 400-meter hurdles and earned four county titles and a state team championship for his school. A wrestler that turned an undefeated season into a state title.

And an underrated attackman that lead his lacrosse team to a 19-0 record and the school's first state lacrosse championship while balancing his scoring with a near even number of goals and assists for the second consecutive year.

In addition to the county, regional and state titles that were scattered throughout the county's high school sports scene, the county was represented at the collegiate level and beyond by athletes that cut their teeth on the fields of our recreation programs.

We had national champions in women's lacrosse at Salisbury and North Carolina and men's lacrosse at Stevenson that boasted Carroll athletes on their rosters. A couple of years ago we had the best high school girls lacrosse player in the country and another this year that won the prestigious Tewaaraton Award for best collegiate player in the country at Maryland. And her cross-county rival that provided the assist on the game-winning goal to lead North Carolina to a national title.

Most of the credit goes to the athletes that have pushed themselves to excellence at the highest levels, but the foundations for their success can be traced back to the recreation programs that provided the opportunities to fall in love with the games that have defined their lives.

As American businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain said, "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."

That love begins at home.

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