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Graduates say make the most of your years

By Joe Centers • Jun 5, 2018 at 12:00 PM

It was a blowout of epic proportions.

No, I’m not talking about the second game of the NBA Finals game between Golden State and the Cavaliers.

I’m talking about this year’s Norwalk Reflector top-5 series featuring the best of the best at all of our local schools.

The score is 34-11 with our nine schools — Norwalk, St. Paul, Plymouth, New London, Edison, Monroeville, Western Reserve, Willard and South Central.

Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby called it “girl power” at Norwalk High School and it wasn’t just there. The girls have three times as many appearances in the area top 5 than the boys — led by NHS with five girls sweeping the honors.

I think this is the best time of the year. This is the one time that everybody gets to walk up on the stage and be honored. All throughout the year we feature athletes, cheerleaders, bands and students of the month, but this is the one time everybody is a winner.

And it’s not only for the students. It’s a time for the parents, grandparents, family and friends.

Remember this time. For many, it will be the best day of their lives.

I enjoy reading all of the comments in the top-5 stories.

“My advice to underclassmen is to stay true to God and yourself,” said St. Paul’s Olivia Powers. “Never be afraid to stick up for what you believe in and cherish the friends and family (who) support you.”

Norwalk’s Madeline Deidrick said the key is making the most of your opportunities in high school and don’t get cheated.

“Those are the times where you make the best memories and lasting relationships,” she said about playing soccer and participating in a number of clubs. “I also advise them to take the CCP (College Credit Plus), AP (advanced placement) and honors classes; you’ll thank yourself for it later.”

Juliana Hicks, of New London, said don’t blink because you might miss something important.

“Enjoy and appreciate every moment because it flies by and do work (because) it pays off,” she said.

Carlie Shover, of Edison, also said it is important to appreciate what you have.

“Don’t wish time away,” she said. “Get involved in what you are passionate about and make the most of each moment.”

Amelia Ruggles did more than just study in her years at Monroeville High School.

“I have achieved over 500 community service hours and hold the highest number of hours at Monroeville,” she said. 

And it has paid off. “I have been selected to be in the brand-new Bonner community service and leadership program at Capital (University),” she added.

South Central valedictorian Cheyenne Swander graduated just six credit hours away from earning an associate’s degree.

“Focus on yourself as much as your studies,” she said. “Make sure your mental health and happiness are well established and taken care of. And always, always, always do your homework and extra credit, no matter hot boring it may seem.”

Plymouth valedictorian Emily Kanney said keep your options open in and out of school.

“Even if there is nothing you’re really passionate about at your school, look into things to do over the summer,” she said. “I have been to medical camps, camps about public policy and one about energy resources. These were awesome opportunities to explore my interests and figure out what I did or didn’t like and that exploration is an important thing to do during high school.”

Gavin Buurma, of Willard, said never give up.

“Try your hardest to be positive,” he said. “High school goes by fast and as much as you want it to end, you’ll miss it. You won’t miss the work or coming to class every day, but you’ll miss all the people who made it that much more bearable for you.”

Western Reserve’s Andrea Robson summed it up pretty well.

“Work hard while you can and don’t take your high school years for granted,” she said.

Good luck to all of our area graduates.

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at jcenters@norwalkreflector.com.

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