By Tim Yovich
A minister encouraged the graduates to not just survive, but to flourish.
NORTH LIMA — South Range High School’s Class of 2008 was an exceptional class, a staff member says.
The 108 graduates generated $2 million in scholarships.
Two classmates — Scott Mentzer and Isaac Melnick — will be attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and Eric Ringel has accepted a four-year athletic scholarship to play hockey at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
During the school district’s 39th baccalaureate and commencement Saturday evening, the Rev. Ralph Edwards, pastor of Good Hope Lutheran Church, North Lima, said everyone attending the ceremony was proud of each of them.
Life is full of endings and beginnings, the Rev. Mr. Edwards told the graduates. “How you act and treat others is the way you’ll be treated.”
Mr. Edwards said it’s easy to die. What’s difficult to do is live.
“Live life like it’s a gift,” Mr. Edwards said. “Don’t just survive, but flourish. The way to flourish is to help someone.”
Many of the graduates have their immediate futures planned.
Ryan Rach, who turns 18 today, knows he’s off to Youngstown State University, although he hasn’t decided on a major.
He did give some thought to joining the military, “but I don’t think it’s for me.”
Rach said he had a good experience at South Range, and will above all remember the friendships he has made. He wants to retain them. “It’s kind of hard to stay in touch, though,” Rach added.
Lauren Walsh, 18, said she too had a good school experience. “It went by very fast,” she said.
Like Rach, Walsh will remember the friendships she has made and the excellent educational experience.
“They didn’t make it easy, but they didn’t make it real tough,” Walsh said, noting that she will be attending YSU with hopes of becoming a dietitian and nutritionist.
Barbara Walsh said her daughter Lauren spent her last two years at the Mahoning County Career Technical Center, where she studied culinary arts.
When her daughter experienced some lower grades, she reluctantly decided to attend MCCTC. After making the move, her grades improved.
“I’m happy with how things worked out,” the proud mother said.
Katie Chadwick, 18, has chosen Ohio University to study psychology. Eventually, she wants to work with juvenile offenders as a psychiatrist.
She will miss her friends, but plans to keep into contact with them from Athens.
Parents of the graduates also said they appreciated the education their children received.
Rich Keshock, father of Mitchell Keshock, said his son, an Eagle Scout at Boy Scout Troop 80, will be attending a trade school to learn to operate heavy equipment.
“He likes to work with his hands,” the father said of his son.
“I think he got a good education. I’m real happy,” the elder Keshock said. “If you ask for anything [at the school], they’ll help you out.”