CENTERS - A little late, but this ceremony a real winner

Graduations come in all shapes and sizes. For five members of the Plymouth High School Class off 2010, Friday's ceremony came a few hours -- and, actually -- a day late. Let me have my buddy, Marty McKenzie, tell it in his own words as posted on facebook. McKenzie is a teacher and coach at Plymouth, and his son, Mitch, was one of the five who missed the actual ceremony.
bigjoe
Jun 1, 2010
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Graduations come in all shapes and sizes.

For five members of the Plymouth High School Class off 2010, Friday's ceremony came a few hours -- and, actually -- a day late.

Let me have my buddy, Marty McKenzie, tell it in his own words as posted on facebook.

McKenzie is a teacher and coach at Plymouth, and his son, Mitch, was one of the five who missed the actual ceremony.

"Just came home from the very best graduation ceremony I have ever been to," McKenzie wrote. "It is 12:30 a.m. Five of the Plymouth seniors ran at the regional track meet and missed the regular commencement so well over 200 people came back to the school for a special get together for Brook (Turson), Alex (Mowry), Andy (Hale), Miah (Jeremiah Long) and Mitch (McKenzie). Mr. (Mike) Follett's "in the spur of the moment" speech was totally awesome.

"And, yes, the 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams along with Derrick (Beers, 200-meter dash) and Jerrica (Stephens, regional champion in shot put) are headed to C-Town."

The 4 by 400 team of McKenzie, Mowry, Hale and Beers (a junior) placed fourth, while the 4 by 200 team of Beers, junior Justin Miller, Hale and Turson was third. Long is an alternate on the team.

Stephens, also a senior, competed in her event Wednesday so she was able to attend the regular ceremony.

They all will compete at this week's state tournament in Columbus.

It reminds me of my first year in Norwalk. The Truckers baseball team was competing in the regional at Lima on a Friday afternoon. The team won and spent the night in a hotel with the finals slated for the next day. Graduation also was set for that Friday night so the seniors missed their ceremony.

Instead, some of them (no names, please) spent the night at the pool and went off the diving board in their caps and gowns.

As word filtered back to Norwalk the next day some people weren't very thrilled, but it was one of those spur-of-the-moment things those guys will remember and talk about at every class reunion.

This is a great time in the lives of all our area graduates. I had the honor Sunday afternoon of attending both the Western Reserve and St. Paul high school graduations to gather pictures and video.

As usual, the Norwalk Reflector again will cover every high school graduation with stories, pictures and videos. Check out www.norwalkreflector.com.

I was very impressed with the speech by Western Reserve valedictorian Tessie Kernell.

She talked about being in the third grade and attending Hartland Elementary School. The students from Hartland and Wakeman Elementary School got together one chilly day for a ceremony to break ground for the new Western Reserve Elementary School. The class came together for the first time in the fifth grade at the new school.

She said that was "the beginning of a journey we would take together," and today was the end of that journey.

St. Paul valedictorian Amber Welfle ended her high school career the same way she started it -- with a big smile on her face and full of life.

"All good things must come to an end," Welfle told the crowd.

"This class is full of unforgettable memories. We've set the bar high for other classes.

"We're always ready to see the fun in every situation," she added. "We're all ready to start the new chapter of our lives."

Seniors at South Central also celebrated their graduation Sunday afternoon.

The remaining five area schools -- Norwalk, Monroeville, Edison, New London and Willard -- have their ceremonies this Sunday.

Congratulations to all area graduates.