'Underdog' class leaves legacy of success

By Greg Gelpi

School is more than just academics and class work for Riverdale High School's Class of 2005, which is savoring the school's stories and successes in extracurricular activities as well.

Senior Shalondan Hollingshed, 18, calls herself and her fellow seniors the "underdog class," explaining that few expected the seniors to accomplish much, but the seniors have exceeded expectations.

"We do surprise a lot of people," Michelle Bristol, 18, says. "We keep proving them wrong."

Christopher Allen, the ROTC's squadron commander, the highest ranking officer in the program, says that ROTC has been what he has "mainly been involved in" during his high school career.

The military program isn't only an activity for Allen, 18, but will also be a means to an education. He intends to enroll in an Air Force preparatory school, so that he can become a pilot.

"I want to get a good education, and there's no better education than at a military academy," Allen says.

Hollingshed says that it has been important to her and her classmates to ignore negativity and to stay true to themselves.

As the senior editor of the Riverdale High School yearbook, she is proud of the school's first full-color publication, as well as her accomplishments in sports.

"I think one thing I'll remember is our state championship last year in track," Hollingshed says of the girls' track and field title.

Hollingshed runs the 200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter and relay races.

"For me, it's just like a big accomplishment," Hollingshed says of graduation. "It's just a relief."

Bristol says that seniors are in the "home stretch."

"I just can't wait to get my diploma," she says. "I know that exactly a week later I'm going to miss everybody."

But, for the time being, the seniors continue to count the hours until graduation.

"I think right now we're just really really tired," Allen says. "We're just ready to go."

Riverdale High School graduation will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Twelve Oaks Stadium on McDonough Road in Lovejoy and will he moved to Lovejoy High School in bad weather.