Commencement caps high school career for Class of ’12

Commencement caps high school career for Class of '12

Fairmont seniors gather at the Nutter Center for Commencement. On May 31, 531 students graduated from Fairmont High School.

On May 31, 2012, 531 seniors from Fairmont High School walked across the stage at the Erwin J. Nutter Center to collect their diplomas and become graduates of Fairmont High School.

But before the turning of the tassels, the Class of 2012 and their families and friends enjoyed a variety of performances and speeches. United Student Body President Monica Wagner opened the evening with welcoming remarks.

Soup, cliches and chains

When USB Treasurer Melanie West took her turn at the microphone, she compared the Class of 2012 to soup. “We all have labels. Each of us has something about us that gives a first impression, and yet, on the inside, we are all comprised of different flavors that make us unique,” she said. “And just like soup, we each have a ‘secret ingredient,’ something about us that not many people know about.”

Continuing the analogy to soup, West credited Fairmont with providing the ingredients for success. “Soup would not taste the same if it was missing a certain spice, just like we would not be the people we are today if we did not have the experiences we’ve had at Fairmont,” she said.

Following West’s speech, students  from Fairmont’s Music Department performed a jazz piece by Miles Davis called “Four.” The student performers were seniors Alex Bilinski, Adam Donovan, Zachary Jarrell, Timothy Keltner, Jeffrey Kremer, Benjamin Scudero and Pasquale Toscano.

Kevin O’Donnell presented the second student speech of the evening, and his topic was the power of the cliché. “You may groan, but clichés aren’t all bad,” he said. “We high school students spend a great deal of our time trying to be individualistic. Just like everybody else.”

O’Donnell proposed a question during his speech. “What’s wrong with being the cliché?” he asked. “Folks say high school is a training ground for real life, and though they might not be be the best years of our lives, they will make for some funny stories when our kids open up the photo albums of us in skinny jeans and jeggings.”

O’Donnell assured the seniors that they would likely continue to do embarrassing things after high school. “But from these four years, we will know to take that goofiness and run with it, or at least learn from it. … We step out now so we can be brave for the big risks to come. There’s nothing cliché about that.”

Next, the orchestra seniors performed a well-known piece by Jonathan Larson called “Seasons of Love.” The piece is famous for its original musical debut in Rent. The performers were Courtny Arnold, Emily Bascom, Ashley Bereda, Cody Boothe, Tyler Dahlinghaus, Lexus Fannin, Edward Fleitz, Ananda Harris, Sarah Jahn, Zachary Jarrell, Ian Litz, Abigail Lybrook, Arik Manley, Marissa Miller, Katherine Molnar, Kevin O’Donnell, Brendan Perley, Samantha Stephens, Emily Stewart, Christopher Valadez and Heather Van Hoose.

USB Vice President Pasquale Toscano then took the stage and spoke on the interconnected unity of the graduating class.

“For the Class of 2012, cooperation and cross-extracurricular participation served as our hallmark,” he said. “We brazenly united to accomplish powerful achievements just as links join together to form one prevailing chain.”

Toscano mentioned the graduating class’ successes with the Spirit Chain against Centerville. “In these past two years alone, we came together to raise almost $150,000 for six different charities,” he said. “Although some use chains to restrain, we have and will continue to use them as a tool to uplift those who need help the most. That is the magic of our graduating class. That is the magic of our chain.”

The final student performers were seniors Megan Florence and Colton Jones, performing Rascal Flatts’ “My Wish.”

Recognizing achievements

After the student performances, Von Handorf recognized the achievements of many groups of students.

Thirty-three members of the Class of 2012 were graduating as Summa Cum Laude scholars, meaning that these students graduated with a 4.0 GPA or higher, weighted or unweighted. Fairmont’s 2012 Summa Cum Laude Scholars are James Arnold, Joseph Barton, Jeffery Bruns, Adam Donovan, Lexus Fannin, Edward Fleitz, Robert Gruhl, Corinn Herrick, Rachel Hock, Daniel Huffman, Zachary Jarrell, Brittany Johns, Sativa Johnson, Jaimi Jutras, Thomas Kimbrell, Jeffery Kremer, Jacob Laux, Mary MacLean, Elizabeth Mercer, Alexandria Meyer, Katherine Molnar, Joseph Moore, Jacob Nickel, Kevin O’Donnell, Allison Parrish, Alexander Robeson, Christopher Roush, Matthew Silverman, Anna Smith, Samantha Stephens, Pasquale Toscano, Ashley Voskuhl and Katherine Zechar.

Corinn Herrick was the Valedictorian of the class, and the Salutatorian was Jeffery Bruns. Herrick also was recognized for being a National Merit Finalist.  Four other students were recognized as National Merit Commended Scholars; they are Eric Hauser, Mary MacLean, Katherine Molnar and Kevin O’Donnell.

Students graduating with prestigious International Baccalaureate Diplomas were recognized during the ceremony as well. Twelve students were recognized with what Von Handorf called the “top credential” for any graduating student. The students are Joseph Barton, Audrey Coleman,Zena Fadel, Brittany Johns, Sativa Johnson, Nathan King, Christine Menchen, Katherine Molnar, Julianne Perez, Samantha Stephens, Ashley Voskhl and Katherine Zechar.

Four students were honored with awards for their citizenship and service. Justin Kihn was awarded the David Rayburn Citizenship Award. Monica Wagner won the Firebird Service Award, and Sumayyah Shermadou and Pasquale Toscano were named Firebirds of the Year.

VonHandorf acknowledged a plethora of different achievements, ranging from Career Tech, music and sports to publishing, leadership and perfect attendance records. He also noted that the Class of 2012 earned more than $10.1 million in scholarships. 

The presentation of the Class of 2012 by Von Handorf was followed by the reception of the class by School Board President Julie Gilmore, then the 531 seniors crossed the stage to receive their diplomas.

Finally, Monica Wagner led the entire audience in doing a wave before leading her class in the turning of the tassels, officially declaring the Class of 2012 as graduates of Fairmont High School.