GRADUATION: BR celebrates ‘overcomers’

Max Wood, Jessica Bement, Taylor Sweeney and Miranda Gregory wait outside the auditorium where they lined up to walk into the gym.

Shawna Clark and Courtney Cepec show off their decorated caps.

The top 10 students in the Class of 2015 are (top row) Samantha Heilman, Erin Heilman, Lydia Chasteen, Justus Owen, Logan Goff, (bottom row) Nicholas Biggins, Erin Patterson, Ana-Marie Stiver, Alexsandria Maund, and John Ternes Jr.

Principal Martin Yoder presents the class before Debi Carver reads off the name of every senior.

Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise

Miranda Gregory walks across the stage to recieve her diploma Friday at the Black River High School commencement ceremony.

Smiles filled the faces of family and friends Friday who attended Black River High School commencement at the Black River Education Center.

Nearly 90 graduates walked across the stage to receive diplomas.

And despite a request from principal Martin Yoder for the audience to hold its applause until the last name was called, each senior got big cheers.

The crowd was especially loud for valedictorian Logan Goff, salutatorian Erin Heilman, and keynote speaker Rachel Strader, an English teacher at Black River.

All three shared memories in their speeches and told stories that kept the gymnasium filled with laughter.

Yoder described the class of 2015 as “overcomers.”

“From tornadoes to bomb threats, from long stretches of losses to victories, from difficult district financial strains to district financial stabilities, these students have persevered to the end of their studies through Black River Local Schools and not only met the requirements but exceeded them,” Yoder said.

His words of advice to the Class of 2015: Stay out of debt, “get over it” when it’s time to do something you don’t want to do, never give up, and stay teachable.

At the ceremony, Taiwanese exchange student Chen Shengru was given a certificate of attendance.

Goff, who is also class president, led the class in the turning of the tassels before the students’ caps flew into the air.

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.