BLANCHESTER — The 2016 Blanchester Opening Day was recently held with 10 people recognized who have had a great effect on Blanchester schools and on the community:
• Jim Warren, recognized by Tony Long.
• Ruth Johnson, recognized by Diana Miller.
• Carlton Binkley, recognized by Jim Johnson.
• Kay Martin, recognized by Darlene Kassner.
• Lynn Martin, recognized by Mark Huber.
• Kate Slusher, recognized by Mary Chapin.
• Holly Strunk, recognized by Emma Falgner.
• Shelly Wellman, recognized by Carter Stevens.
• Georgette McClain, recognized by Chloe Caplinger.
• Harry Brumbaugh, recognized by Bill McLaughlin.
Blanchester Schools Superintendent Dean Lynch welcomed attendees to the event.
“It’s good to see everyone again and spend a few moments together as we commence Blanchester’s 130th Convocation,” he said. “‘The portrait of a Blanchester Graduate’.” What does the portrait of a graduate look like? Let’s look at the portraits of two graduates this morning.
“This first portrait graduated 72 years ago (way back in 1944) and has a nickname of “Bink”, Mr. Carlton Binkley.
“The second portrait graduated 76 years ago in 1940 from Jefferson High and has a nickname of “Red”, Mr. Chester Wilson.
“We’ll see more portraits later in the program.”
Lynch then introduced the local veterans who would “officially kick-off our 130th school year” — Bruce Barricklow, Jack Fisher, Richard Simpson, Chester Wilson and Rodney Whitaker.
Colors were presented by Blanchester veterans. Brandon Sammons led the invocation, Chester Wilson led the Pledge of Allegiance. Ashleigh Osborn performed the National Anthem and David Wood the Blanchester Alma Mater. Dr. Chuck Shonkwiler gave the welcome, with introductions and information by Darlene Kassner, remarks by BEA Friend of Education Michelle Elston and closing remarks by Dean Lynch. Slide #20
In his closing remarks, Dean lynch said, “Let’s give Mr. Wood and Ashleigh Osborn a round of applause for singing the Star-Spangled Banner and our Alma Mater.
“Earlier we looked at the portraits of two graduates and if we walk down the hallway behind you we will see the portraits of thousands of Blanchester graduates. As I look at the portraits of my classmates and friends who graduated before and after me; I begin recalling some of the fun times we had and the influences our teachers made on us.
“Allow me to give you an example of how two teachers put their brush strokes on this Blanchester graduate’s portrait. Many if not all of you have seen the phrase ‘Keep Laughing and Learning’ at the end of my letters or emails.
“I came up with the phrase ‘Laughing and Learning’ after being in Jim Johnson and Harry Brumbaugh’s classroom as a student,” Lynch continued. “These two teachers showed me the importance of enjoying one’s work and that learning can and should be fun. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Brumbaugh painted a portion of my portrait and I want to thank them this morning.
“What is not seen in the portraits lining the hallway are the thousands of artists who helped paint each of them. Artist such as cooks, custodians, secretaries, bus drivers, teachers and administrators. People like you and I in this room. Many of us have been painting portraits for 10, 20, 30 plus a year’s.
“As artists we begin working with over 100 portraits in mid-August and by the end of May, our work on the portrait is finished as we pass the canvases to our colleagues at the next grade level. This continues for 13 years until finally the portraits are displayed and honored during a ceremony called graduation.
“It isn’t until after the portrait leaves us in May that both the artist and graduate begin to appreciate one another. As educators we become proud of the graduates we helped paint and the graduates gradually begin to appreciate the impression that was placed upon their portrait by the artists.
“This morning,” Lynch continued, “I would like to mention a few more individuals who have left their brush marks on my portrait and thank them for painting me, for I wasn’t the easiest canvas to work with.
“But before I do, I’m going to dismiss our guests as we take a moment to stretch and while we are stretching begin thinking about someone in education who painted your portrait. And when get back together you’ll have an opportunity to honor them by mentioning their names.
“So let’s stand…. The individuals I’m about to mention are the artists of my portrait. Their brush strokes on my canvas have been a blessing to me and many continue to paint my portrait 30 years after graduating. These teachers are not only my artists but have become good friends throughout the years.
“They are Jim and Ruth Johnson, Harry and Judy Brumbaugh, Ron Duncan, “Coach” Jim Warren, Tim Adams, Donna Hardin, Wade McCarren, Kermit Zimmerman, Jill Girard, Warren Combs, Earl Chowning, Bob Bernard, Bob Walker, Ron Rudduck, Terry Fouch, Gary West, Dr. David Estrop, and Rod Lane.
“Like me, there is not one of us in this room who cannot remember at least one (1) teacher who left their mark on your portrait when you were in school. I want to give you an opportunity to recognize them by just mentioning their names as I did and encourage you to send them a thank you note or card.
“Now, let’s take a look at the portraits of other future and past Blanchester graduates as well as the artists that painted them …”
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