Edgewood High School graduate Chase Lotharp, inspired by the teachers at his now-alma mater, plans to become a teacher himself and hopes to serve the next generation of Harford County students.
“Teachers have always been the people who would believe in me when nobody else would give me a chance,” Lotharp, 17, of Edgewood, said following the school’s 61st annual commencement ceremony Friday in the APG Federal Credit Union Arena on Harford Community College’s main Bel Air campus.
Lotharp plans to study to be a teacher at HCC and then transfer to Towson University, eventually returning to teach in Harford County Public Schools. He noted, during his time in high school, he has learned that he should not get angry when others doubt him but use that doubt as motivation.
“You don’t do things to please others,” he said. “You do it to please yourself and in the process, you so happen to please others.”
Lotharp was among 292 members of the Edgewood High Class of 2019 who walked across the stage on the arena floor. The graduates heard remarks from their senior class officers, salutatorian Chelsea Raff, valedictorian Kristina Holsapple, as well as local and state elected officials.
Robert Frisch, a Harford County Board of Education member who is an EHS graduate, cited remarks U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts made during his son’s boarding school graduation in 2017.
Roberts wished the students would experience unfair treatment, betrayal, loneliness, as well as “bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved, and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.”
Frisch said he used Roberts’ words to remind the graduates that “life is not always fair,” but one’s response to difficult situations “is what can make us better human beings.”
He said he hopes the Class of 2019’s lives are “one of fulfillment, joy and one where life’s lessons won’t be too harsh.”
Spectators cheered loudly as principal Kilo Mack called each senior’s name to receive their diploma, and their cheers merged into a steady roar as Mack went through the names.
Graduate Hunter Sugg later said she is “very excited for the next step,” as she plans to study graphic design and technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Sugg, 18, of Fallston, completed the rigorous Global Studies and International Baccalaureate magnet program, which draws high school students from around Harford County to Edgewood.
“It was a very long four years, but I definitely had a family with IB,” she said. “I’m excited to move on, but I will definitely miss all of my friends.”
Sugg described her Edgewood High classmates as “just a group of well-rounded kids that focused on studies,” and she noted the “diversity and multi-cultural perspective” she experienced at EHS is part of what she looked for when selecting a university.
Yousuf Ali, 18, of Edgewood, was born in Saudi Arabia, into a family that had moved there from Somalia. The family immigrated to the U.S. when Ali was a child.
Ali described how nearly all of his education has happened in Edgewood, from Deerfield Elementary School to Edgewood Middle School to EHS.
“It was a wonderful experience, just for meeting new people every day helping out [with] their needs,” he said.
Ali recalled working with elementary and middle school students to build the Storybook Trail which recently opened on the Deerfield Elementary campus. He said of the grand opening celebration last week that, “seeing the kids happy, it was just a wonderful time.”
Ali said he plans to take some time off after high school and then go to Harford Community College to study math or foreign languages — he already knows three languages, including Arabic, English and Somali, but he wants to learn more.
He said the schools he attended in Harford County “did so much for me, and I appreciate them for that.”
County Councilman Andre Johnson, an Edgewood High graduate whose district includes Edgewood and Joppa, was among the elected leaders who spoke to the graduates.
“Go and show the world exactly what you’re made of, what Edgewood is made of — congratulations, Rams for life!” Johnson said.