BW officials recount graduation ceremony


SUNBURY — The class of 2022 was among the topics of discussion at the Big Walnut Board of Education meeting on June 16, the board’s first since graduation.

Board member Sherri Dorsch was the first to mention the district’s graduation ceremony, which took place back on May 21.

“Not only as a board member, but as a parent, I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to put that event on,” she said. “I was fortunate to present my son’s diploma to him. … What many people may not consider is that with the weather issues we had, not only was one venue prepared for graduation, but two venues were prepared for graduation. So, there was a lot of work and effort and time that went into that celebration for our students. I think it was a fantastically wonderful event. It just felt so good to be in there and see everyone.”

The commencement was scheduled to take place at the new Big Walnut High School football stadium but was moved to the gymnasium. It was the first indoor BWHS graduation since 2002.

“The board saw firsthand the work of the district,” said board member Steve Fujii. “Exciting to see students from the class of 2022 as they move into their future. We get to call them alumni. In addition, it’s wonderful to see the students continue the tradition of selecting their diploma presenter. I was struck by the number of students who selected coaches, elementary and middle educators — people who had an impact on their lives, and it wasn’t just a high school event. I love that tradition. It’s refreshing to see. It adds extra emotion or sentiment when those educators are called back.”

Also during the June 16 meeting, board member Alice Nicks said she and the district’s safety board received training on safety issues.

“It was very informative as well as comforting to see what systems you have in place,” Nicks said.

Board member Angela Graziosi echoed what Nicks and Dorsch said and added she had met earlier with incoming Superintendent Ryan McLane, who was at the meeting.

“I feel very good about how our board is communicating, and we have a bright future ahead of us,” Graziosi said.

The board agreed to table action on some selected district policies due to pending state legislation but approved the others on second reading.

Assistant Superintendent Mark Cooper thanked the staff for its work during the summer.

“We have a couple buildings moving over the summer as well,” Cooper said. “We have our custodial and maintenance teams working towards those moves, getting those buildings ready, to keep things moving.”

Treasurer Jeremy Buskirk said he received six new public records requests since the last board meeting. He has received 49 public records requests in 2022. Buskirk said he has five requests yet to complete as he closes this fiscal year.

In other matters, Buskirk said that the current inflation, particularly with fuel costs, will impact the next five-year forecast. However, since salaries and benefits account for 83% of the district’s budget, that impact is lessened.

Finally, Buskirk said that while the state’s “fair funding formula” is just that and is helping other districts, Big Walnut isn’t benefitting from it.

The Big Walnut Board of Education discusses district policies at its meeting on June 16. Big Walnut Board of Education discusses district policies at its meeting on June 16. Courtesy | BWLS

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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