HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Hundreds of friends and relatives jammed the bleachers at Spire Institute on Saturday afternoon to welcome Geneva High School graduates into a new phase of their lives during the 148th commencement of the school.

“Today is an exciting and memorable occurrence. We honor your achievements and celebrate your accomplishments,” said Geneva High School Principal Doug Wetherholt as he opened the ceremonies in the indoor track facility.

He congratulated the students for their individual and collective awards including a listing as the 38th best high school in the state of Ohio.

Wetherholt warned the graduates of “tough patches” that will likely come during their lives and urged them to look beyond the easy paths. “Every experience you go through will mold you into the person you become,” he said.

“Remember the world offers you an infinite possibility. Dream big,” he said.

Wetherholt said the school gave 113 AP tests for students to earn college credit, served 7,000 community service hours and provided eight students that are planning to join the military to serve their country.

Three Geneva High School seniors also shared their thoughts with classmates.

“All of your hard work and dedication have paid off. It seems like just yesterday we were leaving our parents for kindergarten,” said Jamie Bradbury. She said that each student took his or her own path.

“We must always remember to keep singing and dance to the music in our hearts,” Bradbury said of the future challenge to her classmates.

Ariel Reece said her decision to attend A-Tech left her with doubts, but realizes it was a great decision. “Going to A-Tech was the best education decision I have made,” she said.

Reece said she majored in pre-school education and was able to get hands-on experience in her field. She said that experience has led her to a future that will include going to college to pursue a career as a high school biology teacher.

“We earned a place in our high school world now it is time to earn our spot out in the world,” Reece said.

Shelby Stancliff reminded her classmates to take a good look around the building to take in the fact that this is likely the last time the entire class would be together.

“Right now may be the last time I ever

see some of you,” she said.

Stancliff said school was a time for

change and growth. “As time progressed I noticed change,” she said of individuals who changed over time and found new friends and ways to spend their time.

GHS English teacher Jamie Smith was

chosen by the class to give the faculty speaker address. “I am so proud of you, but this day is really bittersweet,” she said.

Smith said she was not looking forward to school in the fall and realizing the seniors would no longer be there. She said the

students have spent

the last 12 years answering the question “What will I be when I grow up.”

Smith urged the

students to remember that paychecks and prestige don’t necessarily make for the perfect life experience. “Whatever path you take. Don’t forget who you are,” she said.

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