Some moments — and some lessons — are never forgotten.
The 79 members of the Oberlin High School Class of 2017 will always remember how, one by one, they stepped across the stage Friday night to receive their diplomas.
“This is a class that understands and values as well as embraces its diverse composition,” said principal William Baylis.
Taking the lectern at Finney Chapel, he warned graduates that others may not understand or share the OHS passion for diversity, care for the planet, or small town values. Oberlin alumni must stop those who try to trample the rights and silence the voices of the vulnerable.
“Be courageous and be their voice,” Baylis said.
By accepting their diplomas, members of the 155th graduating class also accepted the challenge of changing the world for the better.
Student council president Zachary Slimak, a junior, wished success and happiness on departing seniors.
“You began high school as children and now you’re graduating as adults. Well, most of you,” he said, laughter erupting from the families gathered in the chapel.
Slimak thanked those mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. They are the ones who guide students, from dragging them out of bed in the morning to helping with homework in the evening.
They are the reason the graduates were on stage, he said.
Also taking a turn at the microphone was Sarah Parsh, student representative from the Lorain County JVS.
A graduate, she celebrated finding the right career calling. After discovering the Teacher Education Exploration program, she has decided to become a fourth grade teacher. In the fall, Parsh will attend Kent State University to study early childhood education.
“Be bold, be brave, and always stand up for what you believe in,” she told classmates.
This year’s seniors are hard-working and talented, said Baylis. Twenty-two earned honor diplomas and 54 took at least one International Baccalaureate exam this spring.
As a class, they earned more than $80,000 in local aid for further studies and more than $1.5 million in institutional aid.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.