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Fairland grads eagerly wait for next step in life

ROME TOWNSHIP — It was 20 minutes to “show time” Friday night as the seniors at Fairland High School lined up in the back hallway before they walked into the gym for one last time as the 61st commencement exercises were soon to begin.

Drama teacher Tara Sansom went down the hallway lining up the soon-to-be graduates with a list of names in one hand and a card of bobby pins for wayward caps in the other.

Rachel Messinger knew exactly how she felt and she summed it up in a single word.

“Awesome,” she said. “I’m so excited to graduate. I’ve been looking forward to this all week.”

This fall Messinger will go on to Marshall University where she plans to major in English with the ultimate goal of becoming a high school teacher or college professor.

But for the immediate future, after the ceremonies were over, she and her family were heading off to Red Lobster for dinner.

Both Tyler Duty and Todd Gillispie were open about having more than a few nerves and one significant worry.

“I don’t want to fall going across the stage,” Duty joked.

Gillispie was equally open about his concern on how well he’d handle his upcoming performance.

“I’m feeling good, but I don’t want to fall either,” he said. “I don’t want mom and dad to laugh at me.”

Both Duty and Gillispie already know what they want to do this fall. Duty is heading to Marshall to major in secondary education and wouldn’t mind coming back to Fairland some day to teach. Gillispie will go to Hocking College with the eventual goal of becoming a game warden.

While the seniors waited impatiently, parents filed into the gym, thumbing through programs to learn a hodgepodge of facts about this Fairland class like the class candy was Sour Patch Kids and class song was “Young Forever,” by Jay Z.

Lisa Pinkerman, waiting for her daughter, Keri, to process into the gym, admitted she had mixed emotions.

“I’m happy and sad all at the same time,” she said. “I’m happy for her, but she is growing up. I remember being this age.”

And in two more years Pinkerman can look forward to repeating Friday night when her son, Kris, now in 11th grade, has his graduation.

Class president Dalton Froehlich, waiting for the event to begin, discussed the message of his upcoming speech. He would be the first student to take the stage to make remarks for the evening. He said he focused his speech on what it takes to be successful.

“Don’t let the fear of failure be stronger than the faith to succeed,” he said.