Big Walnut seniors receive diplomas


SUNBURY — The Big Walnut High School Class of 2023 Graduation Ceremony on May 20 was the first-ever to be held in the school’s new stadium.

Last year, rain caused the commencement to be held indoors in the then-new high school’s gymnasium, limiting tickets to five per student. No such worries last weekend as it rained earlier in the morning and turned into a beautiful, yet windy day.

The home bleachers were filled with family and friends of the graduates, waving as they entered the field in their yellow and red caps and gowns for Big Walnut’s 73rd annual commencement.

Big Walnut High School Class of 2023 Vice President Mya Kaylor spoke first, leading in the Pledge of Allegiance. The national anthem, alma mater and “For Good” were then sung by the senior choir.

Senior Class Secretary Sam Fujii introduced the special guests, which included the Big Walnut Board of Education, administration and principals.

Superintendent Ryan McLane then spoke.

“Families, it went by fast, didn’t it?” McLane said. He added that parents sent their children off to kindergarten 13 years ago and likely laughed at the thought of them being the class of 2023 because it seemed so far into the future, “and yet, here we are.”

McLane noted that he met some of the seniors just this year, others he knew when he was at Big Walnut Intermediate. He went on to say today’s class of 2023 have had to endure safety drills, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a change in buildings as high schoolers.

“You, without a doubt, had it tougher than me,” he said. “We all simply wanted to prepare you as best as we could for you to handle all of the adversity that life is going to throw your way. … You’re ready. You’ve proven it.”

Senior Class President Grant Coulson spoke about handling independence as students, and how the pandemic served as a blip in the class of 2023’s high school journey. Coulson thanked the educators, saying that as upperclassmen, “our next encounter with independence was how to think critically … we were writing long essays, engaging with teachers and most importantly, reading worthy, merit-based books.”

BWHS Principal Andy Jados recognized students from Delaware Area Career Center, those who will enter the military, and those with high grade point averages. Diplomas were then given out to the graduates (not in alphabetical order) by faculty and staff they got to choose.

Coulson led the graduates in the moving of the tassels, and students tossed their caps into the air. Once they had recessed, the audience met them at the flagpole outside the stadium.

The ceremony lasted about 90 minutes.

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at [email protected].

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