By Ed Runyan
When the Class of 2013 at Hubbard High School turned the tassel to the left side of their mortarboard, it may have been a frightening realization to the parents of the 185 new graduates.
The life they have known for 13 years is over.
But excitement at the prospect of starting something new seemed to be the thought of the graduates.
“Exciting more than scary,” Megan Berlin said of her future as she stood with family and friends outside historic Stambaugh Auditorium on the city’s North Side after the Friday night ceremony had ended.
Berlin said the future for her is likely to include work as a hospital lab technician after studies at Youngstown State University.
“I’m definitely ready to move on. I think everybody’s ready to move on and start their life,” said Maris Sarisky, who’s planning to study pharmacy at Ohio Northern University.
She added that she wouldn’t mind finding someplace warmer than Ohio when she’s through with college. “I kind of want to get out,” she said.
Justin Hallapy, who plans to study chemical engineering and play golf at YSU, said golf has shown him that there are a lot of interesting places outside of the Mahoning Valley.
“As of right now, I’m mostly not going to be back,” he said of where he might like to live after college. “I think I could get more experience in the world” somewhere else, he added.
Marianne Hallapy, his mother, said she thinks the members of her son’s graduating class have demonstrated great talent and personalities. “These kids are going to go far,” she said.
“I’m excited and looking forward to college,” Justin Fitzgerald said of the electrical engineering program he’s planning for at YSU.
“My goal is to make enough money and have a good enough job to live someplace warm, because I honestly hate the cold weather,” said graduate Dallas Booth.
Richard Buchenic, the Hubbard superintendent, gave the commencement address, celebrating the school district’s excellent rating on state report cards six of the last seven years and the high school’s designation by U.S. News and World Report as among the top 6 percent of high schools in the United States.
“And while you had access to a great education, remember that there are many lessons still to be learned and plenty of experiences still to be learned,” he said.
Among his suggestions are to “continue to learn by reading, by listening, by doing.” He also asked them to “remember your family. They love and support you; you should do the same.
“Take time to volunteer for a cause you care about. It’s what will truly bring happiness to your life,” he said.
He also offered more practical advice.
“Learn to cook. Eat real food. Plant a garden. Share those things from the garden. Learn how to change a tire, jump-start a car,” Buchenic said.