Steubenville High School graduates reflect on odd senior year
STEUBENVILLE — In her address to fellow members of Steubenville High School Class of 2020, salutatorian Sadie Carducci noted their senior year didn’t end as expected but she and her classmates will be stronger for it.
Carducci was one of several speakers in the commencement program held Wednesday at Harding Stadium to deter spread of COVID-19.
Carducci noted the pandemic led to the cancellation of this year’s prom and spring sports, the latter a particular blow to her because as a member of the softball team, she had dreams of a state championship.
“But guess what, Class of 2020? We will all have bigger and better opportunities in our future endeavors. We are strong and this is not the end of our chapters. Twenty years from now, this will not matter,” she told her classmates.
“Twenty years from now, we will look back on this and say, ‘Wow. We went through some pretty rough times, but we made it,” Carducci said.
“The Class of 2020 will be remembered forever. Future generations will have to learn about us in history books and will complain about taking a chapter test on the COVID-19 pandemic, just as we always did,” she said.
Carducci said while the world changed, their stamina and dedication has not and they can serve as role models for others who follow them.
Alex Barnhouse, the class’ valedictorian, noted that like many graduates before them, the evening is bittersweet. Long anticipated, it also signifies the separation of many classmates, but they may see each other again, he said.
“When we see each other in the future, what will our stories be? Life is the best story written and we will have the opportunity to create our own. It doesn’t matter if we create a New York Times best-seller or a hidden gem that was barely published. It only matters that we are proud of our work,” Barnhouse said.
He told his classmates, “In future endeavors, I urge you to make the most of every moment, never take the lives around you for granted, and be the change you want to see in the world. Life is delicate. Hug the ones you love and make sure they know it. Moments may be short, but the memories from them last a lifetime.”
Principal Ted Gorman said the graduating class was a diverse group with a variety of backgrounds and interests but each worked hard to get to that day.
He noted members put in more than 10,000 hours of community service while 30 earned associate degrees from Eastern Gateway Community College through the school’s partnership with the college and more than 70 received scholarships through the Steubenville High School Foundation while many others have been awarded funds for college through other channels.
Gorman noted William Priest, a 1959 Steubenville High School graduate and leader of an international investment firm, was slated to address the class but the pandemic kept him from traveling there from New York City.
But Gorman shared the following advice from the long-time supporter of Steubenville City Schools: “Learning is a lifetime task. Never stop developing your mind. Education is the ticket that allows you to think for yourself.”
Gorman also addressed parents and other family members sitting in bleachers above the football field where the graduates sat apart from each other.
He said COVID-19 took many things from the class but it didn’t stop school officials and others from recognizing the graduates for their hard work.
Gorman said while they were able to acknowledge the students through a video commencement aired on local and cable television, he’s glad they also were able to hold a more traditional ceremony.
“This was our last opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and put them on stage,” he said, adding he’s thankful for the hard work of staff who spent four hours preparing the stadium, the good weather on Wednesday evening and the support of students and parents.
While several students weren’t able to attend, Gorman acknowledged each by name in addition to presenting diplomas to those present.
In addition to Barnhouse and Carducci, the class’ top students were: Makayla Walter, Scott Mitchell, Jacob Buchmelter, Mia Pierro, Alison Delaratta, Brianna Marshall, Madison Palma and Justine Hampton.
The Class of 2020 includes:
Ross Allen, Christopher Ayers, Rossi Babela, Deonbre Bailey-Anderson, Daniel Baird, Levani Balakos, Maxwell Barnes, Amber Barnett, Alex Barnhouse, Cameron Bass, Jadyn Bennett, Stone Biacco, Calvin Bickerstaff, Tyler Bickerstaff, Keith Bodnar, Anthony Boley, Carl Boyer, Dylan Bozica, Amari Brown, Joseph Brown, Jacob Buchmelter, Ryan Burger, Sadie Carducci, Aja Cassidy, Destiny Clarke, Faith Cook, Spencer Cooper, Caitlin Cotter, Aaron Crabtree, Promis Crabtree, Tayveon Crawford, Serenity Creech, Abrielle Crossland, Samantha Cucarese, Golden Dawson, Alison Delaratta, Tessa Dennis, Drake Ferrell, Madison Fields, Leroy Fordham Jr., Tyler Fulmer, Preston Garrett, Janna Glatzer, Jylian Goddard, Myla Gulan, Justine Hampton, Naudia Harmon, Carley Hay, Joseph Hazelip, Kira Head, Kyle ‘Maxine’ Helsel, Alexis Hilliard, Jamarcus Holmes, Noah Howarth, Robert “R.J.” Hubbard, Thomas Hunt , Averie Jackson, Jazzmin Jett, Richard Johnson, Maleeya Jones, Trillyun Jones, Niko Kausky, Ryan Kelley, Micah Krause, Sydney Larue, Jacob Lane, Ethan Lawlor, Zolie Lester, Dalan Livingston, Kerria Longmire, Dillon Majewski, Blayke Malone, Melanie Mamula, Michael Manning, Brianna Marshall, Draven Martineau, Liam McGovern, Damien Mills, Anaiya Minniefield, Joshua Miser, Randy Mitchell, Scotty Mitchell, Wesley Mohawk, Janiah Mosley, Diamond Nellum, Unique Nesbit, Zoe Nocera, John Nodianos, Kaleb Norris, Terrance Norris, Joshua Olivito, Bryant Owens, Jeremiah Owens, Madison Palma, Ali Pame, Brayden Pearce, Gia Perine, David Phillips, Mia Pierro, Tanner Power, Corey Randolph, Juan Rangel, Jonathan Reed, Noah Reinacher, Cazieh Richmond, Eric Robb, Emily Roberts, Shay’ien Robinson, Arianna Rogers, Jaden Rusnak, Haleigh Savage, Kaelyn Savinell, Jacob Sentich, Raven Shackleford-Banks, Danica Smith, Heaven Smith, Donald Springer, Lay-Tavia Stackhouse, James Still, Aiden Stoll, Sydnee Suriano, Jillian Swinsinski, Bella Taglione, Alexis Tate, Lashay Taylor, Raelynn Taylor, Shaeleigh Taylor, Diamond Thompson, Kharyzma Thompson, Raven Thorn, Natirah Turner, Riley Turner, David Tuttle, Brad Valentine, Destiny Wade, Maleina Walker, Niko Wallace, Makayla Walter, Emmanuel Ware, Buck Warrick, Ethan Waugh, Ty-Rel Weaver-Woodson, Sheldon Webb, Daytona Westfall, Kali Westling, Alexus Williams, Gina Williams, Kaisean Wilson, Daniel Young, De’Ounlee Young and Lucas Zorne.