In a year filled with turmoil and uncertainty, it's important to celebrate the bright moments and positive outcomes. With that said, Mt. Healthy City School District announces that the Mt. Healthy High School Class of 2021 graduated on Friday, May 14 from University of Cincinnati’s 5/3rd Arena. Students walked into the arena with an abundance of pomp and circumstance, their names scrolling on the digital screens, and to cheers of family and friends in attendance. It was a fantastic evening filled with grateful hearts. Of the 200 graduates, Eighty-four stated they will be attending a 2-year or four-year college for post-secondary education. Ten students stated they will attend a trade school for career-based education, and four students will be enlisting in the military. Over 100 students will begin their career paths by working in industries such as construction, clerical, sales, or restaurant industries.
The students were honored for their academic achievements as well as their high school accomplishments. Ms. Arnez Gray recognized three of the top achieving students in the Class of 2021 as well as the top 10 students in the class. The class Valedictorian is Amaya Person with Ravon Key and Vivian Willis matching as Co-Salutatorians, for the first time in many years! Mt. Healthy City School District Superintendent Dr. Valerie Hawkins opened the ceremony congratulating the students and thanking their parents, guardians, and teachers for helping them achieve this goal. She spoke about students’ potential, embracing failure, and perseverance throughout their lives. Dr. Hawkins ended with, “Your successes and your failures will be the stones that make your bridge. Perseverance will be the mortar that holds those bricks together. Take chances, chase your dreams, experience life, fail and then persevere. Change the world! And as you are making the world a better place remember zip code 45231. Stop in when you are near. You will always be welcomed home.”
Mt. Healthy High School Principal Arnez Gray reflected on Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise”. “It’s a poem about self-respect, confidence, perseverance and power,” she stated. “It’s about overcoming obstacles, prejudices and oppression.” Ms. Gray referenced students’ experiences over the past year that played into their “Still I Rise” stories and testimonies. “Whatever the challenges were that you faced to get here this evening, just look around and know that you didn’t do it alone. Just look around and take a mental note of this moment.” Her parting words resonated with students, families, and even staff to realize just what they accomplished this year. “As you move forward on your journey in life and are faced with a mountain that seems insurmountable, look back over your life and remember this moment. You now officially have the history of an overcomer. And if you did it here, surely you can Rise Again!”
Ravon Key, Co-Salutatorian, reflected on his past six years with his fellow Owls, some fun times as well as tragic moments as in the loss of their classmate and friend, Jada. He spoke about obstacles and hardships, including the effects the pandemic has had on their lives. “Obstacles are meant to be overcome. A hardship may be seen as a challenge to some, however it is used as fuel for others,” he stated. “Hardships teach you that you are capable of surviving what was meant for your destruction.” Ravon wrapped up his speech encouraging his classmates to make the best of their lives no matter what they do.
Additionally, Vivian Willis, Co-Salutatorian, focused her speech on congratulating her fellow classmates, thanking all those who helped them along the way, celebrating their accomplishment, and encouraging the graduates to stay in touch. She commended her fellow classmates on their strength and perseverance to push through this last year while having to learn online and at home as well as staying distanced from each other. Vivian ended positively saying, “I wish everyone the best of luck in whatever journey you decide to take. Congratulations again Class of 2021; I am proud of every single one of you!”
Following the presentation of diplomas and turning of the tassels, Mt. Healthy CSD Board of Education President, Dr. Julie Turner declared the Class of 2021 as graduates. They joyously celebrated their accomplishment under the burst of confetti, and cheers from families, teachers, and the graduates themselves filled the arena. Congratulations Mt. Healthy High School Class of 2021.
The ceremony was live-streamed and recorded. A copy of it can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmGs5p8ylPE