GALION — Galion High School students have taken the next step toward their future. Ninety-four seniors received diplomas during the 2021 commencement ceremony on Sunday.
Superintendent Jennifer Allerding said the Class of 2021 holds “a special place in my heart” because she’s known them since they were middle school students.
“In 2014, these students were just entering the doors of Galion Middle School as sixth graders at the same time that I was also new to GMS,” Allerding explained. “They were a special class from the beginning. Fun loving, kind, independent, creative, talented, and a welcoming bunch of ornery sixth-grade students. They have come a long way since those days, have had so many accomplishments, and have persevered through challenging times.
“It has been my great pleasure to watch them grow from the middle schoolers that I loved to the strong, independent, and unique senior class that they are. They have given us so many wonderful moments, not only this year, but years in the past.”
Allerding then directly addressed the seniors with her remarks.
“Class of 2021, I will miss each one of you, but I’m so excited to see the many great things that you will accomplish,” Allerding said. “As you walk out of the doors of Galion High School today, please remember that all of us at Galion City Schools will always be here to support and assist you and that you are always welcome. And finally, and most importantly, always remember that you are loved.”
Mike Mateer, president of the Galion City Schools Board of Education, praised the senior class for its accomplishments and for reaching the end of their high school career.
“These men and women have followed a path within our school system that has ended with their attendance at this culminating event,” Mateer said. “They have believed, achieved, succeeded, and, most of all, persevered. They are winners. You are winners. They may always be sons or daughters, kids or kiddos, but to you men and women, please understand that in a few minutes I will hand you a piece of paper and shake your hand as my peer. Welcome to the world. You’ve earned it.”
Mateer charged the Class of 2021 to “make a difference in the world as only each of you can.”
Senior class President Nathaniel K. Ivy had the opportunity to address his classmates. He said he and many others are proud of this senior class for overcoming many obstacles over the past year.
“Our parents are proud. Our teachers are proud. Everyone that has brought us to this moment is proud,” Ivy said. “So look to the ones that have supported you and show them your appreciation. It’s as easy as writing a thank you card. A thank you card may seem like a small token of gratitude, but it’s so much more than that. It’s an opportunity to reflect on our gratitude and appreciation for the people that have put their time and energy into our lives.
“Thankfulness is a necessity to life and it allows an individual to look positively at the world around them. While it’s important to acknowledge the good people in our lives, we must also look at the individuals that have brought us hardships and offer mercy,” he added. “Forgiveness is so much harder to give than gratitude, but in an odd way they go together, hand in hand. A person that can thank their closest friend and forgive their worst enemy shows great character, perseverance, and leadership. Before we all leave Galion High School, I hope that we can all thank the ones that got us here and forgive the ones that need forgiving so we can enter this next chapter of our lives with a clean slate.”
Ivy then encouraged the students to use the blank thank you notes that were placed in each graduate’s program to express their gratitude to someone who has made a difference in their lives.
Principal Ronald Williams recognized Rebecca A. Sparks as the valedictorian and Kayla M. Hardy as the salutatorian of the Class of 2021. Sparks received an engraved desk set from First Federal Bank honoring her accomplishment.
Williams told the audience gathered for graduation that members of the Class of 2021 had earned 996 college credit hours that will result in a savings of about $498,000 in college tuition. He also noted that the class members have been awarded a total of $1,058,168 in scholarship funding.
“That is an amazing feat,” Williams said.