May is the month of graduations


Months of the year are known by their special events: June weddings, July Fourth and August vacations.

May is the month of graduations.

My husband and I shared that singular thrill with thousands of other parents this past weekend as we watched our youngest child, Richard Andrew Guhne, receive his diploma from Towson State University. He's now qualified to enter the work force.

Is that the "Hallelujah Chorus" I hear?


Although rain was an uninvited guest at Anne Arundel Community College's 33rd annual graduation exercises, it didn't dampen the Class of 1995's spirits. Graduates switched their tassels beneath a canopy of umbrellas during an abbreviated ceremony.

For the second time in five years, two graduates were named valedictorian: Kelly Hopkins, 26, a radiologic technology major from Crofton, and Edith Altice, 28, a general studies major from Annapolis.

Ms. Hopkins, a high school dropout and single parent, didn't think a college would accept her. Now she says she hopes her example of achievement "might encourage someone else." While studying toward her degree, she has worked two jobs for the past three years. She was president of the radiologic technology class her freshman year and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society.

Ms. Altice, the first member of her family to earn a college degree, is already enrolled in the prelaw program at the University of Baltimore.

"I didn't realize I could go," she said. "I was unaware then there were so many programs available to help." While enrolled

in AACC, Ms. Altice worked more than 25 hours a week as a waitress.

Giora and Maya Amir of Haifa, Israel, won the prize for "parents who traveled the farthest to see their child graduate from AACC." They came to see the graduation of their daughter, Varda Amir-Orrel of Annapolis.

Ms. Amir-Orrel is campus chapter president of Phi Theta Kappa and the American Institute of Architecture. She was also a member of the first All-Maryland Community College Academic Team, and winner of academic achievement, distinguished service and outstanding leadership awards.

She will continue to study architecture at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.


Carrie Griffin, daughter of Peter and Charlene Griffin of Pasadena, was valedictorian at Archbishop Spalding's 29th commencement. Jeffrey Czorapinski, son of Debra and David Czorapinski of Glen Burnie, was salutatorian.

Lisa Farren, daughter of Clyde and Sharon Farren; Megan McLaughlin, daughter of Elaine and Timothy McLaughlin; Rachael Penn, daughter of Howard and Beth Penn; and Douglas Van Citters, son of Wayne and Lisa Van Citters, were valedictorians for Broadneck High School.

Jaime Jones, daughter of Lawrence and Brenda Jones; and Melanie Vincent, foster daughter of Deborah Keane, were the valedictorians for Chesapeake High School. Megan Schwartz, daughter of Victor and Ann Schwartz, was salutatorian.

Jennifer Harden, daughter of Darrell and Janet Harden; Stacey Quintero, daughter of George and Suzanne Quintero; Sara Westrick, daughter of Alton and Mary Westrick; and Kari Yacisin, daughter of Michael and Peg Yacisin, were valedictorians at Severna Park High School. Joseph Mezzapelle, son of Gino and Caroline Mezzapelle; and Sara Roach, daughter of Charles and Sharon Roach, were the salutatorians.

Ronald Chapman, son of Ronald and Teresa Chapman; Meghan Emery, daughter of Brian and Sandy Emery; Erin Warfield, daughter of Richard and Linda Warfield; and Kevin Wells, son of Christine Wells, were valedictorians at Old Mill High School.


The name of the Severn School's valedictorian is under wraps until graduation June 10. (We know, but we are sworn to secrecy.)

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