SABINA — On Saturday, the graduating class of 2023 at East Clinton High School gathered in the gymnasium for a unique and memorable graduation ceremony.
Due to a power outage in the Sabina area, the school improvised by hosting a candlelit ceremony that added a special ambience to the event.
Teddy Murphy, a member of the Class of ‘23, delivered the invocation, expressing gratitude for everyone’s presence at the candlelit ceremony and emphasizing the impact of their education at East Clinton. “Everything we’ve done in our lives has led to this moment. I would like to remind you that you will be using something that you’ve learned here, no matter how big or small. Give a little more credit to your school. Thank you,” said Murphy.
Following the invocation, another member of the Class of ‘23, Lex Frye, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and school board president Amy Zimmerman took the stage to honor outstanding employees and retirees. Quoting Benjamin Franklin, Zimmerman acknowledged the resilience of the class of 2023, having endured the challenges of COVID-19, ongoing construction, and the loss of loved ones.
“The lesson you have learned most of all is the lesson of life. I am not surprised the electricity is out this evening. It’s just one more thing we’re going to roll with. And I want to welcome you—it doesn’t matter if you’re going off to college, the army, or the workforce—you are now in the university of life. And you will continue to learn every day,” Zimmerman remarked.
Sarah Sodini, a ninth grade English teacher and varsity head volleyball coach, delivered the keynote address, commending the class of 2023 and their kindness and empathy toward others.
“Life is about being there for others, and you all do that so well. Over the last four years, I’ve noticed your hearts’ willingness to give and help those in need. You are going to succeed because you care. You are empathetic and kind and good to others,” Sodini shared, quoting Taylor Swift’s advice to be good to people as a wonderful legacy.
The valedictorians, Libby Evanshine and Megan Tong, then delivered their speeches. Evanshine emotionally reflected on both the good times and the challenges they faced together as a class, including the tragic loss of their friend Timmi Mahanes in a car accident.
She described the class of 2023 as resilient and highlighted their ability to adapt and bounce back after hardships. Tong touched upon the ongoing construction and the loss of a classmate, expressing confidence in the class’s ability to achieve great things and quoting Taylor Swift with a simple message: “Next Chapter.”
Salutatorian Savannah Tolle encouraged her fellow graduates to carry the lessons they’ve learned and strive for excellence in their future endeavors. The choir then performed “Your Song” by Elton John, adding a musical touch to the ceremony.
A special moment took place when Tim and Chelle Mahanes, parents of Timmi Lynn Mahanes, who tragically passed away in a car accident on Jan. 19, received Timmi’s diploma and walked across the stage together, embraced by the staff. Principal Michael Adams also spoke, playing “Build a Boat” by Gabby Barrett, Timmi Mahanes’ favorite song, which held great meaning for the class. Adams encouraged the graduates to embrace their dreams and continue building their future boats, all while remembering their roots as Astros and the pride of East Clinton High School.
Superintendent Eric Magee addressed the graduates, comparing life up until this point to riding a bike with training wheels. He emphasized that from this moment forward, the graduates get to write their own script, make decisions, and determine their paths. Magee encouraged them to reflect on the people who have been part of their journey and express gratitude for their support. He concluded by assuring the graduates that regardless of the challenges they may face, they will always be welcome at East Clinton High School.
“As you go from here to write your own script, things may go according to plan, or they may not, regardless of the results good and bad, you are always welcome here. This is home. You will always and forever be an Astro,” said Magee.
The ceremony ended with a benediction by Gretchen Boggs.