LORAIN — Rain forced the Admiral King High School Class of 2008 inside Tuesday night, but nothing could dampen the optimism of graduating seniors.
“We are all destined for greatness. Do not stand around and wait for your life, but go out and fight for it,” Stephani Schoewe, salutatorian and class president, told her classmates.
The class, standing 234 strong, received their diplomas in the Admiral King gymnasium instead of at George Daniel Field because of the weather.
The room was filled to capacity, and another 100 or so people watched a live video feed of the commencement ceremony in the school’s auditorium.
Only one person was missing: Principal Stephen Sturgill, who was called to National Guard duty in March and reported for training in Virginia.
High school administrators said that despite his best efforts, Sturgill was denied leave to attend graduation and couldn’t be there to support the class he bonded with over the past four years.
But the Class of 2008 didn’t forget him. They gave Sturgill a thunderous round of applause at the beginning of commencement.
Interim Principal Diane Conibear took his place as master of ceremonies, announcing that the Class of 2008 had received more than $2.3 million in scholarships.
“Knowledge is only as good as the lessons it taught us, like when to start that paper early or finish it on the bus,” said valedictorian Catherine Stipe, who will attend Wittenberg University. “Most of all, we’ve been taught to share our strengths.”
Those shared strengths will make Admiral King graduates the leaders of the next generation, school board member Tony Dimacchia said. He told the students that they are already better than his generation ever was or ever will be.
Lorain Schools Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson also praised graduates, saying they have been entrusted with a great hope.
“Who are you?” she asked the sea of blue robes. “You are the ones who have achieved in spite of obstacles … you are our window of opportunity, cure for cancer, hope for the future of our city, state and nation.”
Contact Jason Hawk at 329-7148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.