Speeches abound at Granville graduation

B y Jaime Thomas

From staying optimistic to dealing with a rapidly changing world, a number of topics were touched upon at Granville’s Class of 2013 graduation Friday evening.

It was a picture perfect day—though perhaps a little warm for some—as family members, friends and school officials gathered on the lawn in front of Granville High School to watch 111 local students and one Italian student accept their diplomas.

“This class has been an honorable class, and it will continue to carry that legacy,” Principal Jim Donnelly said in opening the commencement. He commended the group for its community service and said the students are each, in their own way, ready to take on the world.

“Several will attend some of the most prestigious universities in the fall,” Donnelly said, “Others will start businesses, and still others will volunteer in local fire departments and as EMTs.”

Following his speech, members of the senior class sang “Learn to Fly” by the Foo Fighters, and Salutatorian Katelynn Leavey addressed her class.

She echoed a common theme for the night, recognizing the huge support system provided for students in Granville by their parents, the school board, other officials and community members.

“None of us would be here if it weren’t for the people and experiences that have molded us,” Leavey said, going on to offer advice she gleaned from a list of important things to remember she saved from first grade.

The class officers, Paige Sady, Taylor Birchmore, Aaron Dodge and Kayla Moore then thanked several officials, including class advisors Laura Colombo and Sanda Weber. They also wished Principal Jim Donnelly “the best of luck in all his future endeavors as he moves on to a new career.”

Superintendent Mark Bessen echoed Leavey’s sentiments by starting his turn at the microphone by asking the students to give a round of applause to everyone who helped them along their way. He read “The Optimist Creed” to the group, which asks them to “give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others,” among other promises.

“I hope you will all strive to make a difference in our world—go Horde,” Bessen said. Donnelly then read off dozens of awards and recipients.

Following the awards, Valedictorian Christina Rice packed a lot of punch into a short, enthusiastic speech.

“No matter where you are currently, you have so much ability and potential,” she said. “Find out what you’re passionate about, grasp it and never let it go. We only have one life to live, and we might as well make it worth it.”

John Shaw, president of the board of education, spoke after Rice. He reminded everyone how trying the last 13 years have been for the world, citing such events as Y2K, Sept. 11 and the introduction of the iPhone.

But he ended on an encouraging note before handing out diplomas.

“We are going to make it on top, and the Class of 2013 is going to be part of it,” he said. “We’ve tried to give you the tools you need, and I’m sure we have.”

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