Nearly 150 Van Wert High School seniors, members of the Class of 2023, received their diplomas during the school’s 152nd annual commencement exercise on Sunday. Of those graduating seniors, 33 earned honors diplomas.
During brief remarks to those in attendance, Superintendent Mark Bagley congratulated the seniors and issued a challenge in their journey.
“You don’t have to be perfect, just start somewhere,” he said. “Be intentional with every interaction with others because you don’t get to choose the one they will remember. Hopefully, Van Wert City Schools gave each of you ‘the one’ that made you feel special.”
“Move forward and press on for the bigger prize that awaits,” Bagley added. “When you have down through adversity will create a better tomorrow. Keep on taking care of business and most importantly, don’t stop believing because the best is yet to come.”
Bagley also lauded Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton, who is retiring after 40 years in education.
Student speakers were Sofi Houg, Lauren Black and Abbie Mengerink, and Van Wert High School Principal Bob Priest presented 12 graduates of distinction: Houg, Black, Maria Bagley, Whitley Fast, Finley Foster, Ashlyn Jennings, Mackenzie Jones, Tyra McClain, Isabella Mohr, Piper Pierce, Ian Place and Kyra Welch. To be considered for the honor, students must be in the top 10 percent of the graduating class, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.85 or higher, and have completed at least three advanced placement courses.
The Van Wert High School band, directed by Robert Sloan, performed the processional and recessional and the alma mater. The choir, under the direction of Julia Reichert sang “Journey On” with Marilyn Alessandrini serving as the accompanist. Mackenzie Jones also sang a solo during the ceremony.
Before diplomas were presented to the graduates, Board of Education President Scott Mull shared remarks about the Class of 2023.
Noah Spector was class president, Houg was vice-president, Alexia Barnhart served as secretary and Foster was the treasurer.
The class color was red, the class flower was the peony and the motto was “Expect the Unexpected.”
Article courtesy of the Van Wert Independent.