Urbana HS graduation 1

Alexandra McGee, left, and Katherine Desotell jump and bump as they come down the center aisle to their seats Thursday at the start of the Urbana High School graduation ceremony.

Mike Piavis stood by the doorway as Urbana High School’s Class of 2019 filed past, into the arena that would take them to the next step in the rest of their lives.

It was the school’s 21st graduation ceremony, and Piavis, a biology teacher at the school, has helped at all of Urbana’s 20 previous commencements.

It’s always a little strange to see the seniors leave each year, after spending so much time around them, he said, waiting by the door of the room where the graduates had assembled and lined up for the ceremony.

Occasionally as a student went past him, he reached out to shake their hand or give a reassuring pat on the shoulder.

As one girl passed, he called her name and gave a quick wave.

When she had gone out into the hallway, Piavis said she was the kind of student that makes teaching satisfying.

“They have a rough time, and you watch them figure it out. That’s the fun part,” he said.

Urbana High School graduated 414 students Thursday night in a ceremony at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg.

Kate Markell said she had a great time in high school, but she was ready for it to end.

She plans to go to Virginia Tech in the fall to study general engineering, in the hopes of becoming a civil engineer.

She’s good at math and science, and engineering offers a good opportunity to combine them, she said.

Markell said she grew in confidence during her time at Urbana, after coming into high school as something of an introvert as a freshman.

“But I’ve definitely gotten past some of that,” she said.

She thinks the change will help her in college, and in the business world.

“Being able to communicate is huge,” Markell said.

Lucas Roberton said his time in high school helped him grow as a leader, playing on the soccer team and participating in various clubs.

He’ll study international business at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, after taking Spanish, French, and economics classes at Urbana.

International business offers a good opportunity to use his language and economics background, he said.

The teachers and faculty at Urbana helped him figure out what he wants to do with his future, Roberton said.

Ben Coyne said his favorite memory of high school was participating in the school’s theater productions, because he liked being part of a large group that was able to work together.

He plans to go to the University of Maryland to study computer science.

Camila Montano, one of the class’s two speakers, talked about the changes and challenges she and her classmates have seen since they started high school.

“We are constantly in a world that is trying to divide us,” she said.

But she said there’s still hope for a brighter future.

“And I’m staring right at it,” she said.

She urged each of her 400-plus classmates to help make a difference to change the world for the better.

“Use your gifts to illuminate the dark in the world,” she said.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP.

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

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