October 30, 2014

Elyria
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EHS grads dodge raindrops

Graduating class of 438 includes 115 National Honor Society members

It may have taken two days to pull it off, but it’s official: All 438 seniors from Elyria High finally had a chance to accept their diplomas Tuesday evening.
But the rain that the district tried to escape by delaying commencement by a day didn’t exactly disappear.
The rain started coming down around 6:15 p.m., just as the crowd of jubilant parents and other family members started filling the bleachers at the stadium.
Luckily, it let up just before the ceremony began, and left behind only the stinging chill for those already dealing with being wet.
Brenda Hall was one of the proud parents battling the rain and cold to see her daughter Lisa graduate.
“It’s breathtaking to see this,” Hall said. “She’s my only daughter.”
If any of the graduating seniors were cold beneath their paper-thin robes, it didn’t show as they took the long walk across the field.
“This class is very special to me,” said Brett Heighberger, associate principal of Elyria High. “They started four years ago, the same time I started. So I was a freshman when they were a freshman.”
Brothers Alexander Betzel and Mark Betzel were named as co-valedictorians, and Felicia Marie Hans was the salutatorian. In all, 115 students graduated as members of the National Honor Society.
While the cheers rang out from the stands with an enthusiasm that had all the sprit of a football game, senior class speaker Bailey Smith had some words for the audience and her fellow graduates, some of which may have come as a reality check for her peers.
“When we started, we all had someone holding our hands,” Smith said. “The only ones left holding our hands now are the friends we have made along the way. We are no longer, mommy and daddy’s babies, but adult members of society.”
Before the names were called, Superintendent Paul Rigda had a few words for his graduates.
“You are going to be given an important key, your diploma,” Rigda said. “Use that key to open many doors, and don’t stop at the first. Keep opening doors until you find what you are looking for.”
Contact Ben Norris at 329-7155 or bnorris@chroniclet.com.

Jason Miller / Chronicle
Hannah Van Wormer (left) has her picture taken with her friend Erin Lottman just before the Elyria High School commencement ceremony at Ely Stadium on Tuesday.
Watch highlights from Elyria High School’s graduation ceremony.