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'Loaded' class of 2018 encouraged to use 'grit,' embrace change

Cary Ashby • Updated May 28, 2018 at 8:49 AM

Class president Maya Reineck wiped away a tear as she told her fellow Norwalk High School graduates it was her honor to share memories from this year and “write the last page.”

The daughter of Dave and Trina, who has served as class president for the last three years, challenged the class of 2018 members to find their passion and run with it. The other senior-class officers are vice president Ethan Byrd, secretary Annie Hiler and treasurer Ryan Schaffer.

Salutatorian Rachel Casselberry, the daughter of Ed and Cindy, said one of the biggest lessons she learned at NHS was “when you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails,” which has taught her that life is unpredictable and “doesn’t always go according to plan.” She learned that specifically when she tore her ACL before soccer season started this year so she decided to give teammates moral support by being the manager and when her surgery was cancelled due to a power outage.

Casselberry, who will study accounting at Liberty University, challenged her classmates to embrace change and the challenges life throws at you. 

Before the 158th annual commencement Sunday, Devin Nunez said he was excited and “ready to take the next step in college.” He will major in cellular and molecular biology at Ohio University, with the ultimate plan of futhering his education and becoming a professor or researcher.

“I think we’re all well prepared,” said the son of David and Judy, whose fondest memories as a Trucker was being in the marching band and robotics team all four years.

After graduation, Kelsie Urich will continue working full time as a warehouse coordinator at Schlessman Seed Company in Milan Township. Having worked there since March, the daughter of Tim Urich and Kelli Jackson said the experience has taught her “you do what you gotta do.”

While valedictorian Alaina Kelley told the 205 graduates “it could be harder than you believe to leave this,” Kelsie Urich said she is ready to move beyond her time at NHS.

Kelley, the daughter of Jeff and Jackie, will attend the University of Mount Union, where she will major in financial mathematics and continue playing volleyball. She encouraged her NHS classmates to experience life, put their “best foot forward” and use their self-awareness and what they have learned in high school to better communicate with the world.

Reineck, who will attend BGSU Firelands, said the Truckers’ class of 2018 is “loaded” with “brains,” leaders, athletes and “the go-getters” and with so much greatness to offer the world, they should go with pride.

Principal Brad Cooley emphasized to the graduates the need to have “some level of grit — known to others by terms such as perseverance, passion, resolve and hardiness.”

Cooley first used the example of David Howk’s perfect attendance from second grade through his senior year. Sharing how Drake Neuberger ate 50 chicken nuggets in less than 15 minutes during the Teen Leadership Corps “all-nighter” generated a few laughs.

The principal also shared the grit and dedication of student-athletes Bethany Cring, Kaelyn Harkness, Jada Thomas, Kylee Edney and Owen Rhodes, all of whom played 12 consecutive seasons “with the Trucker name across their chest.”

“They never once took time off from their second-shift job. Their ironman status cements their legacy as ones with grit,” Cooley said. “Use the grit that is part of your class’ makeup to keep you going strong through good and through bad. You will be amazed how many people are attracted to you and wish to join your future circus.”

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