Phoenix seniors ready to soar

By Laurie Hamame -

Matthew Rasmussen is trying to control his emotions as Oberlin High School graduation nears.

“Excitement is the first one,” he said. “I’m excited to move on to bigger and better things or at least new opportunities.”

A little big of nostalgia is thrown into the mix as he looks back on all he’s accomplished. He also feels nervous preparing to step into “a whole new world.”

Rasmussen is one of 78 Phoenix seniors ready to receive their diplomas at 7 p.m. this Friday at Finney Chapel.

Another senior ready to turn her tassel is Leah Aulisio-Sharpe. She offered some advice for students who will be applying to colleges next year.

“It’s really important to trust that it will all work out. It’s worked out better than I could imagine. I was so ready to check out and not go to college,” she said. Aulisio-Sharpe will study journalism this fall at Ithaca College in New York.

This year’s commencement ceremony will feature keynote speaker David Sonner, a graduate of the high school Class of 1986. He was born and raised in Oberlin before moving to Naperville, Ill., where he started his own company.

He told the News-Tribune he is “excited like a little kid” to give the commencement address. “I just want to give back to the young folks and have them look forward to the good things in the future. There’s much to look forward to,” he said.

Valedictorians Eli Arbogast, Caroline Isabelle Olaes, Katya Schane, Hannah Scofield, and Zachary Slimak will be recognized along with three foreign exchange students. Sonja Borgmann, Julie Lindberg, and Azaad Canaan-Athie studied in Oberlin during the 2017-2018 school year. They are from Germany, Denmark, and Argentina, respectively.

Principal William Baylis is proud of the graduating seniors.

“It’s a very diverse class. Some have had success and some have struggled, but I am happy for all because they have all earned the right to walk the stage.”

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

By Laurie Hamame