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    Palm Harbor University High School

    [Times photo: Cherie Diez]
    Palm Harbor University High School seniors Becky Peardon, 18, left, and Heather Payne, 17, look for familiar faces in the crowd as they walk during graduation ceremonies at the Times Arena at Bayfront Center. School officials said 53 percent of Palm Harbor's graduating seniors qualified for Florida Bright Future scholarships, while 75 percent of the class of 2002 had a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

    By CANDACE RONDEAUX
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 7, 2002

    NUMBER OF STUDENTS WALKING IN CEREMONY: 55

    VALEDICTORIANS: Steven Lansel, Sally Velez-Guzman and Fraser Wright.

    SALUTATORIANS: Adam Bernheim, Jessica Cornett, Katy Lawrence, Damian Oslebo and Pavani Yalla.

    SPEAKERS: Principal Alec Liem introduced guests on stage; student government association president Larry Spencer greeted the class; Lansel, Velez-Guzman and Wright gave farewell addresses; senior class president Michelle Hipps and senior class vice president Jacqueline Vilardi thanked teachers and presented the class gift.

    BEST QUOTE: Velez-Guzman, paraphrasing author, poet and playwright Charles Bukowski: "The media may have manipulated your mind for the sake of profits to their corporate sponsors but it is you who makes the final decision about what to think."

    ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 75 percent of the class of 2002 had a grade point average of 3.0 or higher; 53 percent of graduating seniors qualified for Florida Bright Future scholarships, totaling nearly $4-million.

    LENGTH OF CEREMONY: 90 minutes.

    CLASS GIFT: Seniors collected thousands of dollars for a fund to build restroom and concession facilities for the football field.

    SCENES AND SIGHTS: Though there was no shortage of high-pitched squeals, one senior nearly lost his hat when friends let off a long chorus of trumpet blasts as he shook hands with Liem.

    TOTAL LENGTH OF SPEECHES: 22 minutes.

    AVERAGE TIME OF HANDSHAKE: 3 seconds.

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