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Grads march to own drum

No Pomp and Circumstance or caps and gowns for these graduates. The 75 men and women in Berkeley Preparatory School's Class of 1991 did it their own way as they graduated Sunday afternoon. All the women wore white dresses and carried bouquets of pink roses. The men wore suits and pink rose boutonnieres.

They walked into the gymnasium to The Prince of Denmark's March and left to the tunes of the classical trumpet.

But the day still had some familiar trappings: proud parents wiping away tears, grandparents snapping photographs and classmates giving one another high-fives as they prepared for the night's party.

"This is a day to be sad. We must say goodbye to each other," class president Katherine Anne Pieper told her friends during the graduation ceremony.

"But this is also a day to be proud _ proud of our achievements.

"Treasure this moment, the last time we will sit together as the Class of 1991."

The school, in the Town 'N Country area of Tampa, takes academics very seriously.

All 75 of the graduating seniors are going on to college, including such institutions as Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Duke, Vanderbilt and Cornell.

Berkeley Prep administrator Joanne Rock said scholarship offers to this year's graduates exceeded $1.2-million.

Two seniors won National Merit Scholarships, and eight are National Merit finalists.

To prepare the graduates for their next step in academia, Eckerd College Vice President Lloyd W. Chapin told the seniors that "the goal in life is not power, but wisdom."

"The goal of education is not just a matter of acquiring technical skills to get a job," he said. "The goal is self-understanding."

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