July 11, 1988 12:00 PM

Dear Debs,

Well, Gibber, you made it. How can I sum it all up for your yearbook? The way the deejays invited all Long Island to “Debbie Gibson’s high school graduation!!!” everybody was sure Calhoun High in good old Merrick, L.I., was going to be Zoo City on June 26. But the school kept it laid-back—until we all walked onto the football field for the ceremony and those paparazzi made it like a c-r-a-z-y scene. It was neat the way you turned your head away from the cameras. Nobody can say you tried to hog the attention. You were as nervous as the rest of us. Like you said, “I have this weird feeling in my stomach, like, ‘Wow, this is it!’ ”

Here you are, the most famous kid of the 337 stuck in those dumb hats and acting as if selling more than 2 million copies of your debut album, Out of the Blue, was no big deal. It blows us all away that you’re the youngest kid (only 17!) to write, produce and perform a No. 1 song—”Foolish Beat.” Too bad they don’t accept songs as science projects!

Reporters kept asking what you’re like, and Amanda Perine from Spanish class told how you are just “a really nice girl,” and James Goetz (yeah, right, “Bernhard”) said, “She’s not stuck up.” Mike Provenz (we know, he’s a boy and he’s a friend but he’s not your boyfriend) said if anybody was jealous, tough. Like you say, there are three types of kids at school: “Some ask for autographs. Some resent what I do. Then there are my friends.”

We always knew you were going to make it, Debs. You copyrighted your first song at 8 and built a recording studio at 13, right in the garage! Freshman year you won those tickets to see Madonna. Senior year you missed 75 days because you were on tour. Lucky the teachers let you do a paper on record charts. They gave you a 90. But if you can’t get a 100, who can?

It was great going to your aunt Linda Sanfilippo’s house in Wantagh, L.I., for the party after and seeing all the presents you got—like that necklace with the big gold D! Too bad Brian Bloom (don’t deny it!) had to go off with his folks after his own graduation. Can you believe a guy our age was in As the World Turns! After the prom you two were out dancing till 6 a.m. “I’m sort of involved,” you say. Come on, Debs!

Well, guess this is goodbye. While you’re on tour this summer, think of us back in Merrick, working at Wendy’s and getting ready for college. If you get nostalgic, just remember that cafeteria food. Win a Grammy for us, Gibber! Love ya!

—Steve Dougherty, with Gavin Moses on Long Island