Survivors who faced their share of obstacles — that’s how student council president Britney Ware described members of the Oberlin High School Class of 2018.
“The fact that we made it this far with all these awards and accomplishments shows our strengths, patience, and commitment to excellence because I know we are destined for greatness,” she said, gesturing to the 70 classmates assembled on stage Friday night at Finney Chapel. “Each and every one of us has the potential to change the world.”
District superintendent David Hall chose another way to describe the graduates: As independent thinkers expected to solve problems in unconventional ways.
They will become the next technological leaders, political leaders, business leaders, and civil rights leaders, he said.
The class is one that understands Oberlin’s values and embraces the town’s diverse composition, said principal William Baylis.
They are risk-takers. They are caring. And they are knowledgeable world citizens, he said.
Graduates challenged themselves to take rigorous classes. Many completed coursework at Oberlin College and Lorain County Community College, accumulating credits at a rate that surpasses other classes.
At the 156 Oberlin High School commencement ceremony, Baylis helped confer 17 honors diplomas and three International Baccalaureate diplomas.
Wherever they go and whatever they do, OHS graduates carry with them a brotherhood and sisterhood that isn’t always understood by those who didn’t graduate as Phoenix (or Indians), said keynote speaker David Sonner.
A 1986 graduate, he went on to graduate from Ohio State University with degrees in political science and history. Sonner co-founded Illinois Energy Windows & Siding, which has grown into a multi-million-dollar business.
His advice to the Class of 2018: Judge people on the content of their character. Be your best friend and you’ll be happier. Own your life.
Take care of those who help you. Laugh a lot. Be imaginative. Fight for what is right. Look at the people who’ve gone before you and find out what they did well and what they did wrong. Always keep educating yourself.
“Soar like a Phoenix. Every day you get up, embrace it,” Sonner said.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.