Thursday afternoon was filled with ice cream, hugs, selfies, and farewells as seniors at Delaware Hayes High School completed their last day as students.
They were walked around the high school by the Pacer Marching Band and Principal Richard Stranges, who said the class will be missed at the school when it graduates May 25.
“Typically, I look forward to this,” Stranges said. “But this is one of those classes that I truly don’t want to leave.”
The band, Stranges, and the senior class then marched around the school, onto Hayes Drive, then onto Euclid Avenue before heading into Cornell Stadium where the remainder of the student body and staff cheered for them.
“The Class of 2019 has left a legacy (at Hayes),” Stranges said after the ceremony. “They’ve given us leadership and goals to reach. They set a tone for a positive atmosphere and an enlightening school culture, a place where all students can thrive. They will be missed.”
Zachary Shireman, who has spent his entire school career in the Delaware City School District, said he’s looking forward to graduation.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I’ve been waiting a while.”
Shireman said his favorite part of high school has been taking part in choir, which is what he’ll miss most. Shireman said after he graduates, he’s going to take a gap year, find a job, and “see what happens.”
Sara-Ann Dietrich said she’s excited to finish school, although she’ll miss her classmates.
“It’s bittersweet,” Dietrich said. “I’m excited we get to go on, but I don’t get to see a lot of these people.”
Dietrich said she’ll miss cheerleading at football games the most, and she’s looking forward to attending The University of Toledo, where she’ll study early childhood education.
Likewise, Samantha Johnson said she’ll miss going to football and basketball games.
“(Today) feels good but also sad,” said Johnson, who will be attending Ohio University to study exercise physiology and psychology.
Peter Ash also described the last day as “bittersweet,” adding he wishes he’d gotten to know more of the students in his class.
“It feels like a gigantic family,” Ash said. “But I’m excited to expand and see new places. I’m excited to be done.”
Ash said he will be studying at Columbus State Community College for a year before transferring to Ohio University to study language arts education.
Jovan Rodriguez said he’s planning to become a personal trainer after graduation, and he is happy, but nervous, to be done with school.
“I’m excited, but we’ll all be separated now,” he said. “There’s all these people you’re not going to see again. You get to decide how your life goes from now on.”
Mason Davis said it’s going to be strange to go from a very structured day to a very open one.
“Now you can do what you want,” he said.
Davis said he’s going to Ashland University to play football, which he’s looking forward to.
“I’m excited, but pretty nervous,” Davis said.
Graduation is at 10 a.m. May 25 at Cornell Stadium.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.