Class honors those who made journey possible

Published 11:04 pm Saturday, May 23, 2009

FRANKLIN FURNACE — As the Green High School Class of 2009 embarked on the next chapter of their lives, they celebrated some of those who made their success possible at their May 22 commencement exercises.

From parents and brothers and sisters to teachers, coaches and administrators, many of the 51 seniors who walked single file, in pairs, one last time into a sweltering, yet proud Bobcat gymnasium took the time to honor those who traveled the four-year journey with them.

None more so than co-valedictorian Matt Schiesser who delivered an emotional and eloquent speech to the 400 in attendance about having faith and the ups and downs in the game of life.

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Attending Shawnee State University on scholarship in the fall, Schiesser spoke about the challenges his mother has had to face in recent years.

Kristina Fisher, who was unable to attend her son’s commencement, is currently awaiting a liver transplant after contracting cirrhosis. On a waiting list for more than seven months, Fisher needs treatment on a regular basis, Schiesser said.

“Today was a very good day,” Schiesser said with a smile after receiving his diploma. “I know my mom would have liked to have been here.”

Ali Thompson, who along with Schiesser shared valedictorian honors with Shauna Hetsler and Stephanie Sparks, talked about the fact she was going to miss knowing that the classmates she has been with for the past 13 years would not be coming back together every September, but that everything would work out.

“We are the future,” said Thompson, who also will be attending Shawnee State University on scholarship. “Have faith in God and have faith in yourself.”

The theme of the journey and remembering those who assisted in it was stated early in the ceremony when Superintendent Ronald Lindsey reminded the seniors about “Bobcat pride.”

“Hold your head high,” Lindsey said. “Never, ever sell yourself or this school short.”

Nearly 75-percent of the 51 seniors will be attending either four- or two year colleges, retiring guidance counselor Audrey McGinnis said. Some of the universities and colleges the class of 2009 will be attending include Shawnee State, Morehead State, Wright State, Rio Grande, The Ohio State University and Marshall.

Fifteen students graduated with honors diplomas while eight were named to the National Honor Society.

Those named were Abbey Barrett, Kaitlin Hammond, Courtney Strickland, Hetsler, Schiesser, Sparks, Thompson and salutatorian Courtney Salyers.

Diplomas were issued by Green Board of Education President Dave Sparks and Principal David Hopper.

Music was provided by the Green High School choir who sang “So Hard to Say Goodbye” by G.C. Cameron and band who performed a rendition of “October” by American music prodigy Eric Whitacre.