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Posted May 25, 2012 | comments 1 Comment

Massanutten Military Academy to graduate 33

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

Saturday morning, Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock will graduate 33 seniors who come from as close as Harrisonburg and as far away as Korea, Jordan and China.

Salutatorian Zachary Grossenbacher of Parkersburg, W.Va., will begin the commencement exercises with his greeting. He'll touch on the past senior year being a "journey."

"I never once imagined my journey bringing me to Massanutten, but in all honesty I wouldn't change one decision I've made," he said, summarizing his speech. "We are the class of 2012 and the world isn't ending, we are just taking over."

The Valedictory Address, given by Cadet Gianna Mincolla of Suffolk, will follow. Mincolla shared a similar sentiment to Grossenbacher, in talking about her expectations of the academy.

"When I first came to Massanutten, I thought I didn't belong here and that I never would," she said. "MMA has become my second family, and all the responsibility and adversity has made me a better person."

Daniel Watkins, who graduated from the academy in 1968, has been chosen as the commencement speaker. After graduating, Watkins went to Ashland University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

After retiring in 2010, Watkins came back to Woodstock and became a member of the Academy's Board of Trustees. He also serves on the Building and Grounds Committee and Recruiting Committee.

Watkins is best known at the school for being the project manager for the renovation of Sperry-Riddleberger Hall, which made room for music rehearsal and art studio spaces, as well as admission and alumni offices.

Watkins does all his work at the academy as an unpaid volunteer.

The class of 2012 will be dismissed from duty at the end of the ceremony.

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