Wauseon High School held its 138th commencement program on Sunday, with 130 graduates in the Class of 2018.
The program opened with a greeting by Owen Newlove, class president, and featured the Senior Ensemble’s rendition of “For Good” by Stephen Schwartz.
Board of Education President Sandra Griggs recognized the class valedictorians, all of whom also represented the top five percent of the class academically: Amanda Baker, Lucas Blanchong, Avery Giguere, Chloe Lane, Paige Moden, Owen Newlove, Jennifer Sanders, Aleithea Tefft, Kyle Vernot, and McCormick Warncke. Each was presented with a pin and certificate, and a plaque with their names will be included in the high school’s Academic Hall of Fame display.
Senior Conner Hicks offered the first of two class addresses, praising the senior class for its accomplishments, both academically and through extracurricular activities. He said the class possessed “an extraordinary amount” of school spirit.
“Whether you know it or not, the Class of 2018 has been the class to exceed expectations and win out most of the spirit competitions within the school…It is this spirit that will lead all of these outstanding individuals to the path of success in whichever route that they choose to take,” Hicks said.
In her class address, senior Paige Moden said the class had been very involved with work, homework, and extracurriculars, “but none of that would be possible without the community attending sporting events, attending theater productions or contributing to fundraisers.”
She challenged her classmates to “engage in words and ideas. Find an important cause that you care about, whether it is political, humanitarian or something else…You will be amazed how it can change you for the better.”
Moden added: “More often than not, you will be the only thing standing between your current life and the life you want to have.”
Principal Keith Leatherman said the class performed well in the areas of drama, speech, band, choir, agriculture, and athletics. He mentioned athletic accomplishments that included participation in 18 team Northwest Ohio Athletic League championships, three state runner-up finishes, and the wrestling team’s dual state championship.
Leatherman also praised the class’s 60 honor students, 12 of whom earned ACT scores of 28 or higher and six of whom earned scores of 30 or higher. Forty percent of class members have been accepted into post-secondary school programs, and 20 percent in business, trade, community or technical schools. Seven students will enter military service.
Leatherman reported the seniors have collectively received $70,400 in local scholarships and over $539,000 in other scholarships for their first year of college, with the potential of about $2,530,000 in renewable scholarship money over four years.
“This class has continued to measure up to the high level of expectations that are held at Wauseon High School,” he said. “I have great confidence in your ability to be successful in life, as you’ve demonstrated to me, as well as all of your teachers…You have prepared yourself well for the next chapter in your lives, and I encourage each and every one of you to fulfill your potential to the fullest.“
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.