GALION — Class of 2021 member Zach Grimes said he wanted to deliver a message of hope and encouragement to his fellow Galion High School graduates during the baccalaureate service on Thursday evening.
“My goal tonight was just to let everyone know that on their journey going forward, whether they’re going off to college or doing whatever they’re doing, just to know that God’s always with them and if they just trust in him, then they can accomplish anything,” Grimes said following the service.
As one of so many students across the nation and the world who’s had to deal with the many issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, Grimes spoke about what he has depended on for strength and guidance.
“The bible and my parents, of course, have gotten me through a lot,” he said. “They’ve helped me through a lot this last year of high school.”
Grimes said Sunday’s graduation ceremony will be a special occasion for him and all of his classmates.
“Just seeing all my friends again and celebrating with them and all the family members and people up in the crowd in the bleachers,” he said. “That’s the main thing for me.”
Mathematics teacher Fred Rinehart served as the keynote speaker for the baccalaureate service. He shared about his life and the events and circumstances that have led him to where he is today. He also encouraged the students to step outside of their comfort zone.
“You never know what your life will hold, but you’ve got to take risks,” he told the students who attended the service. “Sometimes the greatest risk is being willing to try something new and being willing to look at yourself in a different light. And be willing to listen to what God has to say. … All I can say is that God directed me here and I have never regretted it. I love every minute of it. I’ve been so blessed and encouraged and supported. God is faithful.”
Grimes noted that Galion — the community as well as the school — is special to him because of the people he’s met and formed bonds with over time.
“The people here are really nice,” he said. “Especially the faculty (at the school district). Mr. Rinehart did an amazing job speaking tonight. He’s got such a way with words and talking to people. I think a lot of people look up to him for that.”
Superintendent Jennifer Allerding said she is looking forward to the graduation ceremony on Sunday and praised the students and their families for their response to the events of the past year.
“We’re excited to provide this opportunity to our families and our students and just get back to normal,” Allerding said. “I’m so proud of our students for coming in and doing what they needed to do, and also our families. We have tried from the beginning to make this a very collaborative process. We want parents to feel comfortable sending their children into our schools and I could not be more proud of everyone for the way this year has gone. I’m thrilled with the way the year has turned out and, really, it’s because of each and every person.
“I’m just so thankful for our parents and the trust that they’ve placed in us during this odd year. It’s been a blessing to have kids in class and care for them and love them and I’m excited to celebrate here at the end of the year with this graduating class.”
The graduation ceremony will be broadcast live on the district’s Facebook page and YouTube channel as well as the Galion High School Facebook page. It begins at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Members of the Galion Area Ministerial Association participated in the baccalaureate service. Each senior in attendance was presented with a gift that was provided through donations from community sponsors.