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The Commons Room erupted in applause as Austin Holbrook came forward to receive recognition.
For his numerous achievements, the engineering senior from Hillsdale High School was honored as Student of the Year during the Career Center's 2017 Senior Farewell.
Holbook was one of 126 students recognized for completing career credentials Thursday morning.
Adorned in their school colors, students from Ashland, Hillsdale, Mapleton, Loudonville, West Holmes and Black River came forward to receive their career technical portfolios.
Completing his first year as superintendent, Mike Parry thanked his students for a great year.
"Congratulations to all you graduates and seniors," Parry said. "You all have a little tiny special place in my heart because I'm a new guy around here. This is my first year here in Ashland and my first year as a superintendent. So you all are my first graduating class. So that's pretty special to me."
John Davis, assistant principal at West Holmes High School, encouraged students to do their best and come back for a visit.
"Well guys, this is it," Davis said. "As we old people like to say, it's time to join the real world. There are no more snow days. Those days when you don't feel like working may have much more dire consequences than just a zero in the grade book, it may mean a zero in your pocketbook. And while many of you expressed to me the sentiment that you can't wait to get out of here and that you'll never come here again, I've been doing this long enough to know that today is not goodbye, it's until we see each other again."
The farewell also included numerous student recognitions.
Dakota Baker, sports science student from Mapleton High School, received the STRIVE Award.
"Students Taking Reward and Interest in the Value of Education is a student-driven fund interactive program developed by Rotary," Parry said. "STRIVE students are seniors in high school, they're students who commit to improving their attendance, their attitude, their GPA and their participation."
Seniors who worked to achieve overall excellence were awarded honorary chords from the National Technical Honor Society. They include Jessica Assis, graphic communications, Loudonville-Perrysville High School; Jason Compton, engineering, West Holmes High School; Arielle Croskey, sports science, West Holmes; and Elyse Kulka, cosmetology, Ashland High School.
For achieving six College Credit Plus courses or six matriculation credits within their lab, 14 students were awarded the Tuition Freedom Scholarship:
■ Andrew Campbell, networking/electronics, West Holmes;
■ Jason Compton, engineering, West Holmes;
■ Eric Dillard, engineering, Mapleton;
■ Hannah France, health technology, Loudonville;
■ Michaela Johnson, early childhood education, Ashland;
■ Nicole Massie, health technology, Ashland;
■ Owen Maynard, engineering, West Holmes;
■ Duncan Meloche, engineering, Hillsdale;
■ Chelsea Murphy, early childhood education, Loudonville;
■ Austin Reed, criminal justice, Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO);
■ Logan Sparr, engineering, Hillsdale;
■ Breannin Taylor, health technology, Ashland; and
■ Micah Wright, engineering, Mapleton.
Several students received other scholarships.
The Forrest Chanay Scholarship was awarded to Dakota Baker, a sports science student at Mapleton. The William Glenn Memorial Scholarship was given to Aaron Rennie, an engineering student from West Holmes. Kyleigh Bonnell, sports science student from Hillsdale, and Gabrielle Frazee, culinary careers/management student from Mapleton, both received the Crystal Finley Memorial Scholarship. Bonnell also received the North Central State College Tech Prep Scholarship; Hannah Strickling, automotive technology student of Hillsdale earned the Dave Moore Memorial Scholarship; and Croskey the American Red Cross Scholarship.
Seven class members also enlisted in the U.S. armed forces:
■ Johnathon Cunningham, Ashland High School, Army;
■ Shane Cook, Hillsdale High School, Marine Corps;
■ Justin Cox, Ashland High School, Army;
■ Andrew Dekrell, Ashland High School, Army;
■ Daniel McIninch, Ashland High School Army;
■ Duncan Meloche, Hillsdale High School, Army; and
■ Austin Reed, PSOE, Army.
Kristi Schweitzer can be reached at 419-281-0581, ext. 237, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @krschweitzer.