“I’m really nervous. I’m excited. It’s bittersweet,” Erin Michaud, whose home school was Norwalk High School, said before the second session.
Looking back on her time at EHOVE, the daughter of Randell and Julie said she mostly will remember the leadership opportunities, being with her friends and “becoming more social over time.” Michaud, who studied forensic investigations, will major in psychology at The University of Akron with a minor in forensics.
During Friday’s the ceremony, the graduates and their loved ones watched a music video based on “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang in which EHOVE instructors danced and celebrated the end of the academic year. The school also showed a thank-you video with footage of students showing their appreciation to their teachers and many other people in their lives — and sometimes their dog.
“This is a time of celebration,” Principal Erika Beckman said.
Of the 387 graduates, 44 percent are going to college. Perkins High School student Timothy Fowler (computer tech) earned 41 college credits at EHOVE — the most in the class of 2018.
Jacob Woody, of Huron, said he is taking the enjoyment he has had working with computers as he majors in computer science at Bowling Green State University. He credited his EHOVE experience with giving him the skills he needs to get into the field.
“I just got to meet a lot of great people and I got to work with them and learn with them,” said the son of Jason and Gina.
Industrial tech student Anthony Harper, who attends Edison High School, spoke during the early session. The son of Jeff and Christine said he was no honors student before coming to EHOVE; in fact he referred to himself as “just an average Joe trying to get through the day.”
“I honestly didn’t take high school seriously until I came here because I wasn’t interested in what I was learning. EHOVE gave purpose to what I was learning and gave me motivation. I love that I got to come in each day and (was) in a program that will lead me to my future,” said Harper, who will work full time this summer at American Timber and Steel.
While at EHOVE, he competed at the Skills USA state competition his last two years. SkillsUSA is a national organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations, including health occupations and for further education.
“From this, my leadership and communication skills, along with learning how to rely on a team, and think on my toes, have made me grow in more ways than I could have imagined,” said Harper, who will major in machining technologies at Terra State Community College.
Sam Sigsworth also found SkillsUSA a fulfilling experience. The son of Paul and Kathleen was part of a three-person manufacturing team.
“SkillsUSA was a lot of fun,” he said.
Sigsworth, who studied industrial tech, is leaving for the U.S. Marine Corps in September.
“After I get out of the military, I want to be a gunsmith or bladesmith,” the St. Paul High School student said. “It (EHOVE) has been amazing. I knew nothing about welding when I went in; I knew nothing about machining when I went in. Anything I’ve learned about welding and machining has come from EHOVE.”
Tiffany Slagle, whose home school is Edison, was the student speaker during the second session. The daughter of Robert and Jennifer was in the teacher academy program at EHOVE and will major in early childhood education at BGSU Firelands.
She considers EHOVE a second home, “where friends are like siblings and teachers are like family.”
While Slagle said senior year can be hectic, it also “was one of the best years of our lives” — with the “last first day, that last practice, that last game and who could forget our last prom.”
“So many lasts in such a short period of time. Pretty soon it’s going to be our first day of college, our first day of basic training or our first day of a new job. If I know anything, this will definitely be the first day of a new beginning,” she said.