A fraction of a point was all that separated this year's four Severna Park High School honor graduates.
Addressing their classmates at the June 10 commencement, salutatorians Holly Gillerlain and Christopher Ho, with grade-point averages of, as Christopher says, "3.9 something," and valedictorians Cynthia Symancyk and Shannon Haszard, with perfect 4.0s, spoke about different ways to attain success.
* Holly, 18, the daughter of Joe and Marsha Gillerlain, said no matter how much a person learns, there is no true success without tempering that knowledge with wisdom.
In the fall, the Severndale resident will join her older sister at the University of Virginia, where she will study liberal arts.
When you hear what she does in her spare time, it will come as no surprise that Holly was selected by her peers as the 1992 graduate "Most Likely to Succeed." She has studied dance for 12 years; plays the cello; was part of a string quartet that competed and also performed at weddings and open houses, and was named to the All State Orchestra. She was vice president of the National Honor Society and a member of the student government.
This summer, she will be part of the Severna Park United Methodist Church's Appalachia Service Project. As a member of Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, Holly volunteers as dance instructor for its summer arts camp.
* Christopher, 17, son of Chi-Yuen and Lai-Ming Ho, will spend the summer working in his father's Pasadena restaurant, Ho Wok, before entering Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
The pre-engineering student's graduation theme was "the true value of success is remembering how every step along the way was endured in order to attain it."
He concluded by congratulating his classmates on their greatest success to date: graduating from high school.
The oldest of three children, Christopher prefers to spend his spare time working with his computer.
* In her speech, Shannon, 18, the daughter of Tim and Sharon Haszard, reminded her audience that, "To be successful, we must think big thoughts, but also delight in small pleasures."
The Shipley's Choice resident will enter Duke University this fall as a premed student.
The oldest of three girls, Shannon divided her time between school, church and volunteer work at Harbor Hospital in South Baltimore, where she helped in the pediatric department.
Head of the second violin section in the orchestra, she performed in the string quartet, was secretary of the National Honor Society, tutored in algebra, managed the volleyball team, and did very well in English, although she "really loved human physiology and calculus."
At Severna Park United Methodist, Shannon was president of the more than 100-member youth group and youth choir. This will be her fourth time on the Appalachia Service trip.
* Cynthia, 18, daughter of Daniel and Janie Symancyk, used a story about her older brother, Steve, to illustrate her belief that unselfishness is the way to success.
She spoke of watching one day as he participated in the Special Olympics' 100-yard --. Steve had taken the lead on his way to certain victory, when suddenly he came to a stop and began speaking words of encouragement to his fellow runners, showing them the way. "Only when they had passed him, did he jog to the finish line," she recalled.
"He showed me that winning depends not on a runner's position at the finish line, but on the way he runs the race."
Cynthia ran indoor and outdoor track.
Having always loved languages, Cynthia thinks she will probably add more languages to the French and Spanish she now speaks when she begins her studies at the University of Maryland this fall.
Meanwhile, she will speak French exclusively during her trip to France this summer. The only time she will speak English is while tutoring one of her hostesses.
Plan now to attend the Greater Severna Park Chamber of Commerce's 18th annual Fourth of July Parade and Festival.
This is Severna Park's grandest family event, and it goes on rain or shine, kicking off at 10:30 a.m. at St. Martin's-in-the-Field Episcopal Church on Benfield Road.
Don't hesitate to come if the skies are threatening. Clutching an umbrella in one hand and a granddaughter in the other, I watched one year through a downpour as exuberant marchers splashed by.
The best viewing is along Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, past the Olde Village Shopping Center and up the drive into Park Plaza, where the festival is held.
The chamber invites every community to join in the fun. Community entries will be judged only against other neighborhood groups; businesses and others will be judged separately.
Like attendance at the Orioles' games, this year's festival will be bigger than ever. Held at the conclusion of the parade, it will feature a moon bounce and a Ferris wheel for the kids. At the sponge toss, throw a juicy missile into the face of a local celebrity.
For the adults, there will be photo opportunities galore at the Severna Park "Jail" and the dress-up photo booth. Plan to buy lunch from the many food booths run by Park civic clubs.
All festival proceeds go to charity.
For more information on the parade, call 987-4682 or 987-6625. For festival details, call 647-1094.
Anticipating a major crowd of shoppers at its "Christmas in July Sale," the American Cancer Discovery Shop on Ritchie Highway is seeking donations of new and gently-used Christmas crafts and decorations, toys, dolls and doll furniture.
Volunteers have been creating Christmas crafts for months in preparation for the sale.
They also continue to appreciate donations of clothing, books, small furnishings, jewelry, antiques, collectibles and estate items.
For further information, call shop manager Judy Dooley at 544-0568.