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Class of 2010 ready for last dance

By Sarah L. Smith
Coastal Observer

With more than $5 million in college scholarships, 184 Waccamaw High School seniors will march across a stage in the school’s gym and receive their diplomas Friday.

“You all have truly been my best class so far,” principal David Hammel told the Class of 2010 before they left graduation practice Wednesday.

This year, the school was named a Palmetto Gold award winner for academic achievements; students won four state championships – boys and girls tennis, softball and girls soccer; and excelled in the arts – music, drama, visual arts and debate.

That’s why Jerry Hughes, the school’s assistant principal, said he decided to retire this year. While he could have left in 2009, he decided to stay, saying he’s never seen a group more involved in extracurricular activities and the community.

The seniors agreed the class was special, too.

“Everybody’s really close. We’re not that cliquish,” said Olivia Wicker.

During Wednesday’s rehearsal, students chatted and laughed, teased one another when middle names were announced, and waited patiently as problems with the sound system and ramp to the stage were fixed.

Even Hammel, as he ran from one spot in the gym to another, noticed how patient students were and complimented them.

His only warning: don’t make noise or dance on the stage. If they want to dance on the floor after marching across the stage, that’s fine, he said.

“I’ve got a whole area down here where you can dance, if you want to,” Hammel joked as he pointed to the floor below the stage.

Other than last minute ironing of robes, students said they were ready to finish – so ready that they just might dance.

“I’m going to miss how our class is so close,” Shelby Stih said, “but I’m ready to graduate.”

The Class of 2010 will graduate at 7 p.m. in the school’s gym. Tickets are required for admission.

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