Washington High School will hold its graduation this month and will honor eight seniors with distinction.
Last year, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Education placed restrictions on all Ohio school districts so they could not hold large graduation ceremonies as a way to limit the spread of COVID-19. This culminated in Washington Court House City Schools deciding to hold a unique graduation so each student had some personal time to walk across the stage and receive their diploma with their family.
This year, the restrictions on events outdoors has been lifted but an indoor event would still need to be limited in order to mitigate any potential spreading of COVID-19 per orders from the state.
On Tuesday, Washington High School Principal Tracy Rose discussed the plans for the upcoming 145th commencement ceremony, which will be held on Friday, May 21 at 7 p.m.
“Right now we are looking at two options and are hoping for option one—which is good weather,” Rose said. “If we can get good weather, we want to move our graduation outdoors to Gardner Park. It is very exciting. Right now there is a company putting up brand new lights, and this could very well be the first activity under the new lights. So we are praying for good weather.”
Rose explained they have conducted sound tests and are making some improvements to try and make the graduation as special as possible.
“Given that the outdoor capacity restrictions have been lifted—if we are outdoors there is no ticket system, our seniors can bring their families and we will get everyone in the stadium,” Rose said. “If we do have inclement weather and are forced inside, unfortunately we do still have the indoor capacity limitations. So every senior (in this scenario) would receive four tickets — which are already printed off — and we will distribute those at rehearsal for graduation.”
Currently, Rose said they want to wait as long as they can before they decide on either option for graduation.
“Right now we are planning on two different locations,” Rose said. “That is what we are spending a lot of time on: all of the details on two stages, two sets of chairs, the sound systems depending on where that will go. The one thing that is completely out of my control is the company installing the lights at Gardner Park. We are watching that, and it will be a last minute call depending on how far they get, where they are at and how much lighting is left to finish. I would love to have the lights on to help make the event as special as possible.”
The principal said he is just excited to be able to plan graduation even with all the extra work involved this year. He said this is work the district truly missed last year.
“We had graduation over four nights last year, and there were some good things that came from that,” Rose said. “Typically, a family is not that close to the stage and are not in the picture of the graduating senior and their diploma. So that class got a lot of unique and special circumstances for their graduation. I love what our district did and how Trevor (Patton) supported us with the playing and putting together of the graduation. The one component that was missing — that I am so very happy this year’s class can have the opportunity for — when that class left on March 11 or 12 of last year, that was the last time they were all together. If you think about right before graduation and we all meet in Liberty Hall, we have a last little talk and the class gets to see each other. A lot of times that is the last time you see your entire class together and last year did not get that opportunity. So I am very excited that this class gets the chance to experience senior breakfast and senior assembly next week and then a graduation. Whether it is indoors or outdoors, limited or not, at least they get to be together.”
Finally on Tuesday, Washington High School announced the students who achieved “Honors with Distinction.”
According to information from Rose, beginning in 2016, Washington High School honors any student who meets the established criteria as students who achieve “Honors With Distinction.” The criteria includes: earning an Honors Diploma from the State of Ohio, an ACT score of at least 27, earning at least 28 credits, a G.P.A. of no less than 4.0 on a 5.0 scale, and passing at least one weighted class in each core content area throughout their high school career.
This year eight seniors earned the honor:
Hayden Brown, son of Larry and Susan Brown. He plans on attending The Ohio State University where he will major in Aerospace Engineering.
Reilly Downing, son of Tim and Kate Downing. He plans on attending the University of Dayton where he will major in Computer Engineering.
Megan Gruber, daughter of Terry and Molly Gruber. She is planning on attending Miami University. Her major at this time is undecided.
Preston Hines, son of Tracie Hines. He plans on attending The Ohio State University where he will major in Computer Science.
Macy Miller, child of Kimberly Miller and Robert Miller. Macy plans on attending Ohio University and will major in Music Education.
Analease Mitson, daughter of Andrew and Debbie Mitson. She plans on attending The Ohio State University where she will major in English.
Ashlynn Thevenot, daughter of Tracy Dunkle and Denys Thevenot. She plans on attending The Ohio State University where she will major in Accounting.
Morgan Williams, daughter of Gayle Cook and Kevin Williams. She plans on attending Ohio University where she will major in Chemical Engineering.
“To have the opportunity to celebrate as a class is very exciting, and we are looking forward to it,” Rose said.
The information in this article was provided by Washington High School Principal Tracy Rose.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 463-9684 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.