News from the Tennessee Valley Current

Justina White

Class of '02 sets example

Three years ago the Class of 2002 experienced the whirlwind of change and emotion that the 2005 graduates are experiencing.

I planned to attend Auburn University in the fall and anticipated what I thought would be my last summer in Decatur. Yet here I am, back in my hometown, interning at THE DECATUR DAILY and preparing for my last year as an Auburn student.

My life has led me down a different path than the one I carefully planned three years ago. Knowing this, I wondered what happened to my classmates. We have seven years until our 10-year class reunion, but so much has changed in these first three post-graduation years. With this in mind, I asked: Where is the Class of 2002 now?

Zac Wingard, Decatur High graduate, decided to enroll at Vanderbilt University in Nashville to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering. Wingard transferred to mechanical engineering his freshman year and will graduate in spring 2006.

Graduate school is a possibility, but Wingard is focusing on his summer project working on an experimental gun that replaces gunpowder with a liquid propellant.

Austin High graduate Ross Averitt has entered the Decatur work force. His route has changed since graduation when he thought he would become a math teacher. Averitt is a psych tech at Decatur General West and plans to enter the surgical tech program at Calhoun Community College in the fall. Seven years from now, Averitt envisions himself living on the beaches of North Carolina.

Jared McCulloch, Decatur High graduate, joined the armed forces after graduation. He entered boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., in August 2002 and he deployed in 2003 to Bahrain, Iraq. Upon return to the United States, McCulloch returned to Camp Lejeune, N.C., until he deployed to Iraq in February 2004. McCulloch returned to Camp Lejeune in October 2004 and August 2005 will mark his third year of service, leaving him with one more year of active duty.

Austin High graduate Harry Peyton is playing baseball for the Hartselle Hurricanes, a 20-35-year-old league out of Hartselle. He hopes to play baseball at Jefferson State Community College in the fall and pursue an associate's degree. When asked where he sees himself seven years from now, Peyton laughed and said, "There is no telling."

Perhaps Peyton has summed it up best. There is no telling where the Class of 2002 will be three years, 10 years, or 25 years after high school graduation. We have dabbled in a variety of jobs and experiences and spent time close to and far away from our hometown. The class of 2002 has set an example that the 2005 graduates can follow, showing that the possibilities are limitless for a young and eager individual.

Justina White Justina White

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