On Wednesday, seniors at Hayes High School stepped out of the school for the last time and were honored with a walk around Cornell Stadium.
The parade of seniors was led by the Grand Pacer Marching Band and Principal Ric Stranges and included a walk around the track before ending in front of the home stands, where the rest of the student body gathered to cheer them on.
Stranges said he’s thankful for the senior class and is proud of their leadership within the school.
“Our community, our faculty and the student body appreciates senior leadership, their resiliency and their gratitude,” Stranges said. “I told them before they went out, ‘Every day, no matter what, (seniors) always greeted me with a smile, a hello and did the right thing.’ They’ve been great role models for our entire student body. I couldn’t be prouder to be their principal. They really are something else.”
New Delaware City Schools Board of Education member Melissa Harris attended the event to honor the seniors, including her daughter.
“I’m really excited to have graduation,” Harris said, adding students lost out on “so much” for the last two years due to the pandemic. She said it was “great” to see things return to a “sense of normalcy.”
Senior Colin Bibler said it felt “crazy” to be finished with his senior year.
“It’s surreal,” he said. “It feels like yesterday that I was watching the seniors as a freshman. It’s a relief. It feels nice to be done. I’d like to thank the staff and teachers throughout (my school career).”
Bibler said he’ll be attending Otterbein University in the fall and will be playing golf. Bibler said he’s looking forward to graduation and visiting his elementary school next week.
“The elementary visit will be fun,” he said. “I haven’t been since fourth grade.”
Senior Chloe Kannally, who is the last one in her family who will attend Hayes, said she’ll miss the school.
“Today has been very bittersweet,” she said. “It’s sad to leave all my friends and all my teachers, but it’s exciting to start a new chapter.”
Kannally said she plans to attend The Ohio State University in the fall to major in fashion and retail studies.
Senior Kendyl Donges said finishing class on Wednesday felt “weird.”
“I can’t believe it’s real,” she said. “It’s relieving to be done but it is still sad because there were good memories. I’ll miss the people, the teachers and the family atmosphere. Everyone knows everyone.”
Donges said she plans to attend Bowling Green State University to study marine biology in the fall.
Superintendent Heidi Kegley waved goodbye to seniors at the end of the event and said she’s happy to celebrate the Hayes Class of 2022.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to gather together as a school community and celebrate our seniors and all of their accomplishments as they prepare for graduation,” Kegley said. “These students have done an incredible job adapting to the different changes throughout their high school career. It’s incredible for them to be able to join together and celebrate in front of their peers today.”
The event is one of many held near the end of the school year to highlight student accomplishments. Kegley said she enjoys every one.
“We never get tired of celebrating the accomplishments of our students,” she said. “Today is just another opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of our students and all of the staff members who have been part of this through the years.”
Graduation will take place at 7 p.m. on May 20 at Cornell Stadium.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.