GALION — In a gymnasium filled with 113 graduates and their friends, family and others — many recording the activities with their own iPhones and Androids — Sari Conner got the best photo of all. Her selfie from the podium with her classmates will be cherished memory forever.
But it was just one of the memories made Sunday afternoon at the high school.
Connor, who will attend Spring Arbor University in Michigan in the fall, had three bits of advice for her classmates: Do not be afraid; Do what you love, and love what you do; and she reminded them that the best time of your lives is yet to come.
She talked about graduation being the end of one part of a student’s life and also the start of a whole new chapter.
“This is the beginning of whatever we choose to do for the rest of our lives,” the senior class president said.
The Galion High School Class of 2019 was a big winner. Collectively, the class earned $1.3 million in scholarships and earned a total of 927 college credit hours through the Galion High School College Credit Plus program, saving about $463,500 in college tuition costs.
Of that $1.3 million in scholarships, $300,000 came from local benefactors and sources.
Galion superintendent Jim Grubbs reminded students of the school’s motto: “Believe, Achieve, Succeed!”
“Believe in yourself,” he said. “Remember that you can achieve anything, more that you think that is possible. But your success is based on your passion,” he said. “Your attitude — not our aptitude — will lead to your altitude.”
Guidance counselor Tina Eyster introduced 16 GHS graduates who earned the Ohio Department of Education Honors Diploma and those who garnered summa cum laude and magna cum laude honors.
She also introduced Jalyn Oswald, the 2019 Class Salutatorian and Gabrielle Kaple, the Class Valedictorian.
Oswald is off to Mount Union College to study biology and pre-med.
“It has been a long road,” Kaple said in her address to classmates, friends and family. “But you will see the results of those efforts.”
She plans to attend Wayne State College in Michigan and plans to study bio-medical engineering.
She also had a bit of advice for graduates
“Be involved and be patient,” she said, but added a reminder. “Being skilled or smart is only half the battle.”