CLEVELAND — The Amherst High School graduating students started a new tradition at their commencement ceremony Sunday evening.
To add a personal touch to the ceremony, seniors voted two teachers, MaryJo Moluse and Janet Grissinger, to have the honor of announcing the 336 students’ names as the graduates received their diplomas.
As the seniors celebrated their accomplishments, yellow and green hats filled the air in Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center.
Principal Michael Gillam acknowledged the class’s academic, athletic and other accomplishments. Seventy-nine students graduated with an honors diploma, 120 students received scholarships, totaling over $1.8 million, and 12 students will enter the armed forces.
Valedictorian Ian Arnold encouraged the senior class to strive for excellence, keeping in mind the process of striving toward excellence is more important than achieving it.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant,” he said, or in other words, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”
Even though Arnold, a soon-to-be Princeton University student, believes there will always be someone stronger, faster or smarter, he said nothing should stop the graduates from achieving their dreams.
“Every single person has a special place to fill in the world,” he assured his classmates.
Senior class president Jason Loushin reminisced about the lessons he learned in high school. A note to underclassmen: The school’s best water fountain is near the main gym and secrets spread like wildfire.
Loushin also thanked the teachers for the lessons they have taught — not the vocabulary words or math equations, “but the life lessons,” he said.
Superintendent Robert Boynton extended his congratulations to the seniors’ parents.
“Parents and grandparents, you were the first teacher,” he said. “You were the most important teacher.”
Boynton concluded by advising the graduates to think twice before they speak.
“Watch your thoughts, they become words,” he advised. “Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
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CARL SULLENBERGER / CHRONICLE
Caitlin Celik looks over the rows of fellow Amherst High School seniors as she gives her speech Sunday during the school’s commencement at Wolstein Center in Cleveland.