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Frantic final school project: a sweet serenade

Published May 22, 2005

DADE CITY - Every class has a song. But what would be the Pasco High School Class of 2005's song?

It was a question James Sherrow pondered as hard as anyone. Then the answer hit him:

It should be a song written and performed by the Class of 2005. James realized he should be the one to write it. And he asked Cristina Rosales, perhaps the Class of 2005's most gifted voice, to sing it.

That was two weeks ago. After one long night of writing, composing and scoring and 11/2 weeks of rehearsal time, Stand Up High became a smash hit at Pasco High's commencement ceremony Friday night in front of a packed W.F. Edwards Stadium.

With James on acoustic guitar, Cristina sang underneath a full moon, and their classmates were standing, hollering and clapping at the end.

The hit songwriter, who next year hopes to be performing with the University of South Florida's Herd of Thunder Marching Band, said it was a dream debut.

"It's such a great feeling to be able to give to my class," James said. "I have a gift and to use it - I'm very honored to be able to do this."

It was another banner year for Pasco High athletics, especially in the postseason. The softball team reached the region final; the boys basketball and baseball teams went to the region semifinals, and the football and girls basketball teams also reached the playoffs.

Linebacker Harold Pryor and cheerleading captain Summer Gaskin know how successful the school was in the classroom, too. Harold, the University of Florida-bound Student Council president, was also named Pasco County's Outstanding Senior of the Year. Summer, the valedictorian, is the county's top calculus student. She's also bound for Gainesville to study, of course, math.

They and the other student speakers offered advice ranging from the very wise to the very practical.

"Never lose sight of your goal or forget your perseverance," Summer said, "and always designate a driver."

Harold recounted old wisdom he himself learned that day: "Conquer your soul rather than the world," he said. "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

At 8:52 p.m., 217 tassels were moved from right to left.

At 8:57 p.m., fireworks exploded above and light-saber duels broke out below.

[Last modified May 22, 2005, 01:07:21]

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