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    Largo High School

    By AARON SHAROCKMAN
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 7, 2002

    NUMBER OF STUDENTS WALKING IN CEREMONY: 348

    VALEDICTORIAN: Ha Vo

    SALUTATORIAN: Dana Husaim
    [Times photo: Carrie Pratt]
    First she got her diploma, and then graduating senior My-Kim Tran, left, got a hug from Vera Broga, chairman of Largo High's foreign language department. Tran, who presented the class gift during the school's commencement, and her classmates built a peace garden in memory of Sept. 11.

    SPEAKERS: Vo and Husaim; Student Council president Melanie Tillbrook; Arsenio Corbin, presenting the alumni association award recipient; Jennifer Constantine, presenting a gift to principal Barbara C. Thornton; My-Kim Tran, presenting the senior class gift; teacher April Schmidt, addressing the students.

    ACCOMPLISHMENTS: One-third of graduates will attend a four-year university, a Largo High record.

    LENGTH OF CEREMONY: 1 hour, 40 minutes at Packer Stadium.

    AWARDS: More than half the class members received scholarships, totaling more than $1-million, both school records. Assistant principal Leonard Koutney received the alumni association award.

    CLASS GIFT: A garden filled with assorted flowers by the cafeteria, blue and gold mulch around the trees and a huge LHS embedded in the ground. The class also raised $500 to help rebuild Cedar Key High School, purchased a new scorer's table for the gymnasium and built a peace garden in memory of Sept. 11 with a plaque that reads: "In memory of the victims, and in honor of the heroes of Sept. 11, 2002."

    BEHIND THE SCENES: Students each deposited a penny into a piggy bank for Thornton, who made nearly four bucks. "I hope you see we have much common sense, a good sense of humor and a good sense of character," said senior class vice president Jennifer Constantine in presenting the gift.

    SEPT. 11: Mentioned five times, the ceremony honored the tragedy with a rendition of God Bless America performed by the choir.

    TOTAL LENGTH OF SPEECHES: 44 minutes.

    PATRIOTISM: A red, white and blue beach ball bounced through a section of graduates. Within seconds, it was confiscated by faculty and staff.

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