Being “the new kid” can be tough. On Friday, senior Lauren Borders recalled her earliest days at her school – the Lorain County JVS – and learning that everyone feels like the new kid.
She took the lectern at the vocational school’s commencement ceremony, held at the Lorain Palace Theater, earning cheers as she talked about how JVS classmates became fast friends.
“Little did we know we were making memories, making friends – we were making family,” Borders said.
Senior Erin Hostal shared the same sentiments in a speech for the class, remembering how she counted down the minutes to the end of each school day as a freshman at Keystone High. A field trip to the JVS changed her outlook and she eagerly applied and was accepted.
Reporting for her first day, Hostal felt intimidated.
But that same day she made a best friend and soon, “Strangers turned into one big family,” she said.
Borders and Hostal were among the nearly 500 students honored in Friday’s ceremony – a crop of graduates JVS principal Jill Petitti praised extensively.
Seniors in the JVS Class of 2016 collected for homeless shelters, organized a blood drive, earned more than $250,000 through the summer internship program, inducted 42 members into the National Technical Honor Society, and advanced by the hundreds through regional, state, and national skill and trade competitions.
This year’s seniors were awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships, Petitti said.
Deputy superintendent Jerry Pavlik had graduates’ parents and grandparents, then staff members stand, each receiving thunderous applause in turn.
Pavlik delivered remarks in the absence of superintendent Glenn Faircloth, who was unable to attend the ceremony, and used Faircloth as an example of what students can achieve.
He said 26 years ago Faircloth was homeless and “knew he didn’t want that to be the chapter that defined his life.” Through resolve and hard work he today holds a doctorate and leads one of the best public vocational schools in all of Ohio.
Pavlik urged graduates to make the best of the chapters they have left to write in their lives.
“Make us proud. Make a difference,” he said.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Photos by Jason Hawk | Civitas Media Lorain County JVS graduate Erin Hostal, who spoke at commencement, was in a crash last year and suffered traumatic brain injury. She recovered and now plans to attend Lorain County Community College and become a paramedic and firefighter.