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Ohio schools host graduations

Graduations
May. 26, 2013 @ 10:05 PM

SOUTH POINT, Ohio -- If there were a cake or balloon roaming Lawrence County before this weekend, chances are they're out of the shop and at the celebration table.

While Fairland got the hat-throwing party started on Friday, and Chesapeake and Rock Hill celebrated on Saturday, the rest of Lawrence County's public schools got their pomp and circumstance in on Sunday.

Four Lawrence County public schools celebrated the lives and accomplishments of their graduating seniors Sunday afternoon.

At 2 p.m., both South Point and Dawson-Bryant High Schools celebrated graduation. Symmes Valley followed at 3 p.m., and Ironton High School closed out the day with an evening graduation.

Symmes Valley, the scenic small school based in the hills of Willow Wood, Ohio, saw 60 students graduate Sunday with that class earning more than $200,000 in scholarships and grants for post-secondary education.

Principal Darrell A. Humphreys said the Class of 2013 was one that led by example.

"It has been a good group to work with throughout their high school careers," Humphreys wrote about the class. "They have worked hard academically and led by example. The class of 2013 is one our community can be proud of because they have represented Symmes Valley High School in a positive manner the last four years."

Dawson-Bryant High School in Coal Grove had 96 students graduate Sunday afternoon, 27 of those students graduated with high honors (a 3.5 or higher), and 10 students with high honors and distinction, which means they carried a 3.5 or higher GPA and completed two advanced placement classes.

Superintendent Dennis DeCamp, said the Class of 2013 was one that was high achievers both academically and athletically. Of the graduates, 47 are planning to attend college in the fall with five students joining the armed services. They've earned $703,000 in scholarships.

DeCamp said the highlight of Sunday's ceremony had to be a standing ovation from the class of 2013 when fellow student, Jeri Leigh Rigsby, an honors student who is confined to a wheelchair, got out and with assistance slowly walked her way up the ramp and across the stage to get her diploma.

"It was tremendous to see a young lady who has not been able to do what every young people can normally do walk across the stage," DeCamp said of Rigsby, who will be attending Huntington Junior College. "She is one of those students who has always worked hard and who always has a huge smile on her face."

At South Point, a packed gymnasium welcomed the Class of 2013 with rousing applause and the victorious clang of the cowbell.

The measure of the class could be taken by the lengthy time it took superintendent Ken Cook to read the scholarship winners among the 115 graduating seniors. Those students collectively earned more than $1.6 million in scholarships.

Emily Norris and Beth Barnes were the co-valedictorians for the graduating class at South Point High School. Levi Stalder was the salutatorian.

South Point High School principal Jayshree Shah got in one more bit of good advice while making opening remarks to the class.

"One piece of advice is to be a life-long learner," Shah told the class. "It is learning that makes your life fuller. We wish you the best and expect to hear great and amazing things about you in the future."

Norris, who was also the senior class president, told her classmates that they would always be a class even though they were now heading in many directions.

"We are a class -- we might not be spending 6 1/2 hours, five days a week together, but we are still a class, and each of you have the personality that made this class what it is," Norris said.

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