Columbus Academy will graduate the largest class in its history at 9 a.m. June 6, when 112 seniors are expected to take part in commencement exercises on the school’s campus, 4300 Cherry Bottom Road.
“An incredibly talented class with outstanding leadership, this year’s senior class was a joy to have in person every day,” said Melissa Soderberg, head of school. “We will miss their engagement, their smarts, their kindness and their energy, and we know they each will make the colleges they attend better places by their presence.”
Bob Lee, Academy director of communications and marketing, said the seniors are matriculating to 73 colleges and universities in 24 states, which is also a record high for one year, he said.
He said 79% of the class will acollege out of state, which is another record high.
Siddharth Amirneni, president of the senior class, will speak during the commencement ceremony. He’s a National Merit Scholarship finalist who is to attend Duke University and was one of only 62 students in the world to earn every point possible on the AP Macroeconomics Exam, receiving the maximum score on each portion – all 90 points.
Amirneni said his class is well rounded.
“Whether in sports or academics, everyone seems very determined,” he said. “They put their all into everything they do. They stick with it. That has always stuck out to me.”
The class also has leaders who served on student council all four years of high school, including Amirneni, Carolyn Vaziri, Davey Agrawal and Amiya Tiwari.
Professional actor, director and photographer Bob Turton will serve as the guest speaker at Academy’s 109th commencement.
Turton, a 2001 Academy graduate and 2005 graduate of Northwestern University, worked in the Chicago theater scene with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company (of which he is an alumnus), Chicago Shakespeare Theater, A Red Orchid Theatre and many others.
In 2009, he moved to Los Angeles to work with funnyordie.com while building a career in film and television.
“I’m so honored to meet the class of 2022 and speak at this year’s commencement ceremony,” Turton said. “It’s a privilege I never could have imagined 21 years ago during my own graduation from CA. Through all of my work and experience, I’ve held the core values I learned at the Academy close to my heart.”
Gahanna Lincoln seniors overcame challenges
Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools is scheduled to graduate about 597 Lincoln High School seniors at 9:30 a.m. May 28 at the Schottenstein Center, 555 Borror Drive.
“The class of 2022 has been a truly remarkable class,” principal Jessica Williams said. “Just like the classes before them, they have faced many changes and challenges throughout their high school career. It has been a privilege and honor to serve as their principal the past four years. I will never forget this class, as we started at Lincoln High School together back in 2018.”
The class has three National Merit Scholarship finalists, and about 129 will receive honors diplomas, according to the guidance department.
Senior Lyberti Chandler is president of the Hope Squad, a student-based suicide and mental-health prevention program in which the students can talk to peers they trust and get professional help if needed.
She said the squad was started in 2021, when advisers and teachers started to realize how much the pandemic was affecting the GPA and mental health of students.
“What makes the class of 2022 stand out is we really only had one normal year of our high school experience, and that was our freshman year,” Chandler said. “The stay-at-home orders and quarantine started in the month of March, which was towards the end of our sophomore year. Doing school online and trying to participate in class was very challenging for most of us.”
As juniors, they were off and on with online classes and hybrid, Chandler said, adding that it was difficult because the quarantine took away socialization.
“Also during that time, our teachers went on strike, so there was a time that we didn’t learn or do anything,” Chandler said. “Speaking from experience, my mental health went down, and my GPA was affected tremendously, and I’m sure there are a lot of seniors that can say the same.”
Still, she said, the class of 2022 worked hard during a pandemic and still managed to improve grades and persevere throughout the last 2 ½ years of high school.
“I am so proud of how far we came over the years, and I am blessed I get to graduate with the people I went through a struggle with and came out stronger than before,” Chandler said.
New Albany High School graduation returns to Huntington Park
Patrick Gallaway, director of communication for New Albany-Plain Local Schools, said commencement for 416 seniors will be at 10 a.m. May 28 at Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Lane in downtown Columbus. The rain date is 7 p.m. May 29.
“Last year was our first time at Huntington Park, and we were their first-ever graduation,” Gallaway said. “It was a great experience. They filmed it and had it up on the Jumbotron, and then we also livestream it to our YouTube channel, and it will be posted there after it is over.”
Valedictorian Helen Wang is to provide an overall address to the class, with salutatorian Sydney Arlin presenting a speech thanking parents.
Gallaway said one other student would be selected as a guest speaker to thank high school staff.
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