MANATEE -- Katelyn Glover, a senior who graduated from Lakewood Ranch High on Saturday, loves to volunteer. She donates her time as a junior counselor at the YMCA, her local church and anywhere else she can find opportunities to help youngsters, says family friend Cyndi Johnson.
Katelyn has the kind of attitude that epitomizes her entire
senior class, said several seniors, underclassmen and Lakewood Ranch High staff members as they watched Saturday afternoon's ceremony.
"They're really kind. They have big hearts," said junior Alicia Doniger, who attended the ceremony in celebration of senior Brittany Masseo, her best friend. "They're a really close-knit group."
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"Not one person stands out because the entire class stands out," said guidance counselor Joane Chmelewski, "They truly are a team. The entire class is a strong group."
"They're more aware of their generation," added Wislaine Clerveau, a Bayshore High graduate who attended with friends to honor graduate Jean Hyppolyte, who will be joining the Marines. "They know what's going on in their world."
Principal Linda Nesselhauf shared statistics that backed up the class's civic leanings. She noted that Lakewood Ranch's Class of 2012 had logged more than 46,000 hours of community service, and had donated 700 pints of blood this past school year. Nesselhauf also recognized the school's many academic and athletic accomplishments.
They included a state title in boys' golf, two state runners-up in other sports, earning Florida's All Sports Trophy Award among 6A schools, earning more than 200 industry certifications in specialties like child development and technology, and earning more accountability points in the FCAT system than any other high school in the county.
The ceremony also included numerous tributes to Brett Wagner and Josh Rogers, two seniors who died in a car accident Christmas Day. The commencement audience cheered the two during an opening video that included both of their photos and provided a standing ovation as siblings of Wagner and Rogers carried their robes across the stage and accepted their diplomas.
Christine Hawes, Herald education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Or follow her on Twitter @chawesreports.