Columbus Academy student council president Harry Wexner said the class of 2013 leaves a legacy of working hard, yet still having fun.
Wexner, a New Albany resident, is one of 80 seniors who will graduate during commencement ceremonies beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 6, in the Senior Quad at Columbus Academy, 4300 Cherry Bottom Road.
Bexley and Columbus students among the graduates include Elijah Kroos, Abram Schottenstein, Ezer Smith, Rhys Davis, D'Arcy Kenworthy, Sarah Lazarus, Sarah Poehlmann and Alleluia Tyus.
"There are some people who worked hard in sports and academics and some in extracurriculars," Wexner said. " I think our work ethic stands out. You can see that with college acceptances."
The 80 graduates will attend 52 different colleges and universities in 22 states and one foreign country.
Wexner said he'll always remember the senior class trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., in March.
"It was probably 50 degrees, but the water was freezing," he said. "It was miserable but a lot of fun.
"Another special moment would have been our last day of school on May 10. Everyone was on the quad playing football in the rain. It marks our class doing things in bad weather conditions."
Wexner said his class also can be credited with several athletics state championships.
"There were a lot of great athletic moments," he said.
The on-campus graduation ceremony will be the final official event for John Mackenzie, who is retiring after 16 years as the school's headmaster.
Meredith (Keeran) Kessler, a world-class triathlete and 1996 graduate of the school, will serve as commencement speaker 20 years after Columbus Academy awarded diplomas to females for the first time.
Kessler was a standout in field hockey and track at Syracuse University and began competing in Ironman Triathlons (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run) soon after graduating in 2000.
After finishing as the first-place amateur woman for every race she entered in 2009, she turned pro in 2010 and won Ironman Canada in her first attempt as a professional.
Kessler had a breakthrough season in 2012 when she won five titles and has already repeated as Ironman New Zealand champion this year in addition to winning the U.S. Pro Championship at St. George just a few weeks ago.
"It is an honor and pleasure to be given the opportunity to deliver the commencement address at the 2013 Columbus Academy graduation," said Kessler, who lives in San Francisco with husband Aaron Kessler, a 1994 graduate whom she met while both were Academy students. "It will be so special for my family and I to come back to the place that laid the foundation for where I am today."
As the president of this year's senior class, Victor Liu of Dublin will open the ceremony with a welcome address.
Also speaking will be the school's recipient of the Andrew William Cary Cup, who will be announced with other award winners at the honors assembly June 5.