GALION – GOAL Digital Academy’s graduation ceremony took place at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 19 at the Mid-Ohio Conference Center in Mansfield.
The 2023 GOAL graduating class consisted of 113 students.
Before the ceremony began, guests viewed a video presentation that featured the graduates expressing their gratitude for GOAL and those that inspired them towards academic success.
Following the video, Superintendent Tish Jenkins started off the ceremony by thanking family and friends in attendance for their support.
Jenkins then welcomed 2023 GOAL Delaware graduate Joshua Scott onto the stage to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Jeff Grimmett, Director of Operations, shared an inspirational message of hope to the 2023 graduates.
“As you step out into the wider world, you will encounter both opportunities and challenges. You will face moments of triumph and moments of setback. Remember, it is through adversity that our true character is revealed,” Grimmett said. “Embrace these challenges as opportunities for growth, for they will shape you into the resilient individual that you’re capable of becoming.
“Congratulations class of 2023. May your future be filled with success, happiness and fulfillment. Go forth and make your mark on this wonderful world.”
Several student speakers then joined the stage one-by-one, beginning with 2023 class Salutatorian, Sadie Hargrove.
Sadie thanked her parents, partner, and GOAL for their support, and continued with advice for her fellow classmates.
“Many of you will further your education or might take a year off, work a bit … or some of you may not know what you’re doing, and that’s OK,” Hargrove said. “Just like high school or any part of your life, you will figure it out along the way as long as you don’t give up on yourself.”
2023 GOAL Valedictorian Camille Churn followed, expressing her gratitude for GOAL, stating that the school became “one of the best decisions my parents made for me. I absolutely could not have asked for a better last two years of high school.”
Other student speakers included Kathleen Creek, Shane Wright, Adam Crider, Kali Kunkle, Raniya Gallogly, Chayani Contreras, and Lorelei Ratliff.
GOAL recognized the top ten academic students in the class of 2023. Next, the audience was treated to special surprise messages from lead singer of the Rascal Flatts, Gary Levox, and two-time Heisman Trophy winner and former Ohio State University football player, Archie Griffin.
Levox advised, “Fight hard, enjoy the grind, and wake up every day thankful that you got air in your lungs and that you are setting goals … go do whatever you can to accomplish them and great things will come out of it. I just want you to know how proud I am of all of you in the GOAL Digital class of 2023!”
Griffin followed with well wishes: “You guys have a big big life ahead of you and I want to wish you the very best. Congratulations, good luck, and be the very best that you can be!”
Before diplomas were awarded to graduates, Assistant Principal LeRoy Smith awarded the recipients of the LifeLong Learning Scholarships, which provide financial assistance to students as they pursue their post-secondary goals.
These awards were made possible through donations gifted by GOAL Digital Academy staff members. Two students accepted a $750 scholarship; Cyrah Anderson (Newark) and Kiya Benedict (Marion). Wilhelmina Anderson (Newark) and Adam Crider (Mansfield) each received $500. Shortly after, students received diplomas presented by staff members of their choice, and the ceremony closed with the traditional act of turning the tassel.
Several parents and students reached out after the ceremony with positive remarks.
Graduate Morgan Bond echoed her appreciation for GOAL even after the event’s end.
“I absolutely could not have completed the school year without the amazing support I had from GOAL,” Bond said. “GOAL is such an amazing school, and I could never have graduated in the top 10 of my class if I hadn’t become a student there.”
Lisa Montgomery, parent of GOAL graduate Kaleb Montgomery, noted, “Graduation was an experience my family has never had before. As a mother of three, and Kaleb being my last, we have seen and been to a few graduations. Last night’s graduation was by far the coolest, most thought-out graduation ever! The staff at GOAL rock! Thank you so much for all you do.”
2023 GOAL Galion Graduates
GOAL DIGITAL ACADEMY
GOAL Digital Academy serves 12 counties in Central Ohio with its 7 Learning Labs, and celebrates students’ diverse learning styles, interests and talents by going beyond academics and providing students with well-rounded opportunities to meet new people and engage in their passions. GOAL offers regular family education and networking opportunities and continually works to remove family or community barriers that impact student success.