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Chartiers Valley Class of 2013 was close-knit group

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For The Bridgeville
Mecca Mebane applauds after the playing of the national anthem Thursday, June 6, 2013 during Chartiers Valley High School's 53rd annual commencement ceremony.
Nicole Merrick flashes the peace sign to family and friends during Chartiers Valley's 53rd annual commencement.
Antonia Mays poses for family and friends.
Kayla Novelli wears a personal message on her cap.
Shane Murphy, one of the top three graduating seniors, gives a speech during Chartiers Valley's 53rd annual commencement.
Emma Grossman celebrates after receiving her diploma.
Seniors toss their caps in the air as the 53rd annual commencement ceremony concludes.

For the top three students in Chartiers Valley's class of 2013, the reality that their time in high school has come to an end hasn't quite set in yet.

“It's weird to think that (graduation) is (here),” said Shane Murphy from a high school conference room Monday, just three days before the big night. Diplomas sit in piles on the table, ready to be handed out.

Murphy, Colleen Bodnar and Heidi Schmidt, the top three in their class, imparted words of wisdom, humor and memories on their classmates at the June 6 ceremony.

More nerve-wracking than speaking to their classmates is the prospect of leaving home for the first time.

Murphy, who will attend the University of Pennsylvania for economics in the fall, said he will miss having his own room. Bodnar, a future neuroscience major at Allegheny College, will miss her dogs. All agreed, however, that one of the things they will miss most is free food.

Schmidt, who will major in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve, in Ohio, was optimistic though.

“There's an ice cream bar at Case Western,” she said. “Ice cream fixes everything.”

All three noted that while their class was big -— graduating 244 in total — it was close-knit nonetheless.

“People have come and gone, sure,” said Murphy. “But we've all been together for a while.”

Most memorable about the group, they agreed, is how nice everyone was.

“Everyone's just nicer,” Bodnar said. “People interact with each other.”

“Cliques aren't nearly as defined as they are in other places,” Murphy said. “We're not all neatly organized.”

While they will continue to hold dear memories of new friends, old friends and forever friends, all three are excited to start the next chapter of their lives.

“I'm nervous about going, but it's a new beginning,” Schmidt said. “I'm not going to know anyone there. It's a brand new start.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or

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