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Pasco High seniors enjoy cookout before graduation

Anthony Beeler, left, Kara Inversso and Allison Richey sign yearbooks Wednesday at the senior cookout, which followed graduation rehearsal.

STEPHEN J. CODDINGTON | Times

Anthony Beeler, left, Kara Inversso and Allison Richey sign yearbooks Wednesday at the senior cookout, which followed graduation rehearsal.

DADE CITY — When it comes to how long they've been friends, Sabal Toney and Breely Bathle might just have their classmates beat.

"We've known each other since before we were born," joked Sabal, 17.

"My parents were in the delivery room when she was born," said Breely, who is a year older.

The girls, who, like their parents, bonded over rodeo competitions, gathered around Sabal's white pickup Wednesday with a handful of friends as the Class of 2011 spent its final social function together over chargrilled hamburgers and hot dogs at the football stadium.

Known as the senior cookout, the 10-year-old tradition takes place after the final graduation practice.

"We always make them a nice big lunch," said Ricky Giles, a football and baseball coach at the school, known as the county's most rural and definitely one of its oldest high schools, with its claim to fame being the alma mater of the Bellamy Brothers country music duo.

That sense of community is what Sabal and her friends said they will miss the most.

"Everybody here knows everybody else," she said, adding that the same holds true for east Pasco.

The girls recalled the memories — hanging out at the career office, donning football jerseys to play in the flag football powder puff game, riding horses.

"It's sad," Sabal said. "We're kind of all going in different directions."

Sabal is headed to St. Petersburg College with the hope of one day opening her own prosthetics and orthotics practice. Jordan Freese, 18, is bound for Saint Leo University to study crime scene investigation. Erika Valdez, 18, plans to go to Southeastern University in Lakeland to major in psychology with a focus on marriage counseling. Kaitlyn Robin, 18, will go to the University of Central Florida to study elementary education.

"First grade," she said when asked what age she wants to teach.

Brooke Parham will travel the farthest from home. She plans to attend the Argentina Bible Institute in South America. As for Breely, she's not sure yet.

"I'll either go to Texas, Louisiana or Arkansas," she said. "Somewhere where I can study equine science."

The Class of 2011 is marked by a focus on the international. Hannah Hollander plans to travel to Germany for a year. She was one of 24 U.S. students chosen for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange. She'll spend time in a number of cities exploring various careers before returning home for college to study environmental engineering and international relations.

"I was accepted at Georgia Tech," she said. "When I come back I'll have to reapply."

She said she will miss the family atmosphere at Pasco High, which, unlike the schools built around new neighborhoods in central Pasco, is steeped in tradition.

"Pasco High School is not like othe r high schools," she said.

Graduation

Pasco High School's graduation is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at W.F. Edwards Stadium. In case of rain the ceremony will be moved to the gym.

The class

• Projected number of graduates: 242

• Valedictorian: Luke Richter

• Salutatorian: Tori Larsen

• National Merit Commended Scholar: Kristina May

• Pasco County District Community and Career Technical Education student: Jennifer May

• Projected number of graduates to join the military: 12

Scholarships

Athletic scholarship winners include the following:

Football: Jamie Byrd, Texas Christian University; Cordale Baldwin, Dean College; Hakeeme Ishmar, Florida Atlantic University; Sage Stephens, Defiance College; Zack Hutcheson, Bethel University; Charles Wood, Quincy University

Softball: Courtney Brandt, Stetson University

Cross-country: Anthony Plourde, Iowa Central Community College

International scholarship: Hannah Hollander was one of 24 U.S. students who received a scholarship to live in Germany for one year as part of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program.

Inside Graduation info, scholarship winners and more, Page 4

Pasco High seniors enjoy cookout before graduation 05/25/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 2, 2011 5:14pm]
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