LORAIN — The past and future were celebrated at the Lorain High School commencement Tuesday night as the graduates walked across the stage as high school students for the final time.
“Our memories of our time with you are unique,” Principal Robert Klinar said. “They show what you have accomplished when it comes to whatever you set your mind to, whether it be academics, service or athletics.”
Klinar said while this was his first year as the school’s principal, getting to work with the 415-member class of 2016 was a blessing.
“Getting to be here for you last year, your senior year,” he said. “Getting to interact with you every day has been a blessing and with your family here to support you, there’s nothing you can do.”
Superintendent Jeff Graham said the ceremony acted as a way to remind the students that they are all part of the Lorain community, and the 160 kindergarteners who formed a high-five tunnel for the graduates was a testament to that.
“This is a demonstration that hard work pays off and that we are all one Titan family,” he said.
Salutatorian Brandon Bartlome, a varsity baseball player who will be continuing to play at Ohio Northern University and study physical therapy, said the fact that all of the students were at the ceremony demonstrated their devotion.
“We worked diligently and deserve to celebrate that,” he said. “I know we have all encountered problems that have wanted to knock us down, and it’s how we handle those situations that make us who we are, and more often than not, that’s what motivated us.”
Valedictorian Jazmin Rivera, who is headed to Lorain County Community College to study nursing the fall, said it was the last time the students would be in the same place at the same time.
“But as we go to leave the stadium here tonight, our real stories will begin,” she said. “Our opportunities are endless, and we should remember to not let anyone knock us down and to take a stand about the things that really matter.”
The Ohio State University-bound athletic training major and senior class representative Shontoria Goodwin was brought to tears when she spoke of Jayvian Johnson, a member of the class who was killed in a hit-and-run Oct. 19.
“He served every day and wanted to keep on serving,” she said. “And we should all have that same purpose.”
Goodwin said while the graduates would be moving on with their lives, they would be doing so in service.
“We have served at this school for four years, and now it’s time to move onto the next chapter of our lives,” she said. “We have served our purpose here, and now we’re going to go where we want to go. Not everything will be easy, but it will be worth it.”
Rivera said she wanted to make sure that the class would leave its mark in the world as the last high school class to attend the former Southview building.
“We will make history,” she said. “But we will never forget Lorain.”