Garrettsville – Threatening skies forced commencement exercises at James A. Garfield High School to be held in the gymnasium rather than the football field on June 2. But nothing could squelch the magnitude of the moment for the JAG Class of 2013.
The Class of 2013 exemplified its motto for the year, “Above & Beyond.” It was heralded as the class with the highest OGT (Ohio Graduation Test) scores ever, having the smallest number of disciplinary problems, and as major contributors to the school district’s repeat achievement in earning Excellence with Distinction from the Ohio Board of Education.
JAG High School Principal Jennifer Mulhern said this graduating class could be summed up by one word: “Respectable.” She went on to quote Confucius, “Respect yourself and others will respect you.”
Of the 117 graduates, 17 were members of National Honor Society, 10 earned honors diplomas, three were Valedictorians and three were Salutatorians. Valedictorians included Tyler Covey, Emily Rybak and Timothy Schwan. Salutatorians were Caitlin Chartier, Brittany Sisson and Stefan Wickli.
The top 10 scholars earning the Georgia Lee Alford Scholarship included Josie Baum, Caitlin Chartier, Tyler Covey, Logan Dean, Kaleigh Gilmer, Emily Rybak, Timothy Schwan, Brittany Sisson, Shiloh Van Oss, and Stefan Wickli.
Twenty-five graduates earned vocational certificates from Maplewood Career Center. Sixty-eight percent of the graduating class is heading to college or technical school next fall. Three graduates will enter military service.
For retiring Superintendent Charles Klamer, this marked the final commencement speech of his 22-year career at James A. Garfield School District. JAG School Board President Guy Pietra encouraged graduates to emulate Klamer’s legacy of dedication, service, passion, vision, management, leadership, humility, compassion, integrity, loyalty, empathy and love for students.
Klamer relished his final stand at the lectern, admonishing graduates with a series of pithy one-liners to live by, including, “Learn, think, and use the resources accessible to you. Make friends; friendship is a very wise investment. Weigh your options. Make good decisions for yourself. Learn from your mistakes. Count your blessings; not your troubles. Nothing wastes more energy than worry. Ninety percent of the things people worry about never come to fruition. Your presence is important to the world. It’s never too late to do ordinary things in extraordinary ways. Live a life of serenity; not regret.”
In short order, the graduates walked across the platform to receive their diplomas and yellow roses; turned their tassels; tossed their caps in the air; then walked out those gymnasium doors toward the wide open future.
[quote style=”boxed”]“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau[/quote]
Christopher Mathews II
Sean McCabe Jr
Shiloh Van Oss