ELYRIA — Wearing small red ribbons in memory of one of their own, members of the Keystone High School class of 2014 proceeded down the aisle of the Elyria First Baptist Church on Friday while “Pomp and Circumstance” played in the background, trying to keep their composure.
After all, this moment was 13 years in the making.
But sitting on display in the lobby of the church was a matted photograph of Logan Stiner in his Keystone High School wrestling uniform. The border around the photo had the signatures of his classmates and phrases, including, “I Love You, Lo! I wish you were here!”
Logan, 18, died Tuesday morning inside his family’s LaGrange home. Red was Logan’s signature color.
Keystone Schools Superintendent Jay Arbaugh said despite Logan’s death, his memory would be kept alive.
“This past week we suffered a loss with the passing of Logan Stiner, but we will honor Logan’s memory with his family and friends. But, this is also a celebration for these students (on stage),” Arbaugh said.
Logan’s girlfriend, Morgan Myers, knew he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way Friday night.
“It’s not the same without him,” Morgan said earlier this week. “He deserves the diploma more than any of us.”
Class president Emily Cornish spoke of “Glory Days” and how each of her fellow classmates should continue their lives as if they have yet to achieve their own glory days.
“Keep on walking, don’t look back. Do what you love and love what you do. (Just like) Logan Stiner, who was an ambitious, bright young man with big dreams. We should aspire to be like him,” Emily said Friday.
Class valedictorian Janice Sikon noted that her class was noted for its lot of misfortunes.
“We have to stop being sad and be awesome instead. Class of 2014, go big or go home,” she said before the graduates accepted their diplomas.
Accepting Logan’s diploma — an honors diploma — was his older brother, Dylan Stiner.
High school Principal Franco Gallo handed over the diploma and the two embraced.
Throughout the presentation of the diplomas, the audience was asked to remain silent so each name could be heard, but after enduring a somber week, many parents, family and friends could not hold back their excitement after hearing their loved one’s name called.
There were cheers from the crowd and the family of Tyler Gullett, a close friend of Logan’s, shouted, “Make sure it’s signed!”
Each of the diplomas was indeed signed and sitting on a table in a special room in the back of the church.
And, displayed in the corner of the room was Logan’s photograph, as if he was there in person making sure each one collected their diploma, something he believed each of his 134 classmates deserved.
“That’s just who he was. He was always there, and he was always supportive,” Tyler said.