Joshua Morrison/News Makenna Jennings receives a hug from Lauren Pfeifer during Sunday's commencement at Centerburg High School.
Joshua Morrison/News Isabelle Wolford receives a hug from Catherine Wheeler during the Centerburg High School commencement on Sunday. Wolford and Wheeler were two of eight valedictorians for the class of 2019.
Joshua Morrison/News Graduates of the classes of 2019 are stepping into a new world of opportunities and careers — including, for Centerburg graduate Nathan Stillman, a shot at pro wrestling. Stillman, who is off to the Ohio Pro Wrestling Academy, brought a WWE championship bout belt while picking up his diploma on Sunday afternoon.


View More Photos


CENTERBURG — In an emotional graduation ceremony Sunday, Centerburg valedictorians shared the very best, but also the very worst, of high school.

Several of the eight valedictorians of the Centerburg Class of 2019 got choked up and cried a little during their speeches. Valedictorian Kristy Vargo gave a stinging speech about the trials that teens experience in school and life.

Vargo said that high school is a place full of “love and laughter and anger and fear and hope.” She said given the choice she “would not repeat the last four years”, high school being an experience filled with “fake friends, busy work and breakdowns in the girls’ bathroom.”

Vargo said the only people who will look back at high school as the best days of their life are those whose lives peaked there.

“From now on, my focus is where I’m headed,” Vargo said. “I haven’t peaked yet. Have you?”

Valedictorian Elise Tucker said that high school is “hard…there were many times when I wanted to hit the fast-forward button.” She told the class not to spend all of their time looking to the future, being “too busy chasing extraordinary moments” to notice “the small things that bring joy.”

Centerburg’s achievements for the 2018 – 2019 school year in scholastics, extracurricular activities and sports were touched on by Valedictorian Catherine Wheeler. “We’ve been given every opportunity to succeed, and as a class we have,” Wheeler said. “Some pretty spectacular things have happened here.”

Valedictorian Alayna Thomas said her classmates are “funny and smart and influential to me”, and asked them to reflect on the time when “one of our fellow seniors made” a bad day better for them.

The class was asked to live in the now by Valedictorian Isabelle Wolford. Rather than constantly looking forward to what is next, she asked “what do you want to be right now, in this moment?” Wolford said to appreciate the moment and to help and be kind to others.

Valedictorian Savannah Gammell said as graduation approached, she thought she was ready to put school behind her “but now that the time has come, I realize I’m not in a rush to grow up.”

The seniors gave themselves a round of applause, prompted by Valedictorian Cynthia Morris. Morris said she often felt “swamped by all the decision-making” about future plans during her senior year. She said the class have “all worked really hard for this.”

The invocation was given by Valedictorian Chloe Merriman, who asked a blessing on the students, school and community.

The class had a special moment during commencement with the people who raised them in a thank-you ceremony, giving roses to parents and guardians.

The rest of this article is available to our subscribers.

Do your part to support local journalism
Subscribe to our e-edition to read this and many other articles written by your neighbors.

Already a subscriber? Log in



Nick Sabo: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter,