Five hundred fifty-nine Gahanna Lincoln High School seniors are scheduled to graduate at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 24, at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, 555 Borror Drive in Columbus.
Principal Dwight Carter said this year's senior class is high-achieving, extremely talented and diverse, in terms of its interests.
"Many seniors found their niche and expressed their creativity through WGLH-TV, robotics, song, poetry, writing, speech and debate, math and extracurricular clubs and activities," Carter said. "They've taken advantage of opportunities to present in front of business leaders and community members and left a lasting impression on them."
Carter said the class of 2014 has been passionate about helping those in need through GahannaThon or through mentoring young girls in the S Club.
"They've also taken the 2013-14 school theme, 'We Are Family,' to heart," he said. "I've been fortunate to have been able to establish close relationships with several of our seniors by working with them on a schoolwide project and listening to their ideas."
Carter said each member of the graduating class would be successful in life because each took advantage of all that Gahanna Lincoln has to offer.
"They've helped our school persevere through some challenging experiences this year, and many have been positive role models for our freshmen, sophomores and juniors," he said.
National Honor Society president Jacob McKenna said his class is one of the smarter classes to graduate from the high school.
"We have over 50 valedictorians, achieving a 4.0 or above," he said. "That's a crazy number. That's awesome. That's pretty significant.
McKenna is one of those valedictorians. He plans to study philosophy and theology at the University of Notre Dame in the fall.
"I think, overall, our class is packed with leaders," McKenna said. "We've really set a lot of precedence with new events at the high school, like the creation of GahannaThon. We've also had success with programs like DECA and the awesome theater productions. One of the most awesome productions put on was Hairspray. We have a talent-packed class. I think we had impact on the high school."
Student council president Hannah Kesig said her class is unique and talented.
"We have strong seniors in chorale, and the TV seniors have done so much for the school," she said. "The TV group organized an all-school video. They pulled that off. That's something they can leave behind."
Kesig said many seniors attended the GahannaThon fundraiser, raising almost $22,000 for the fight against pediatric cancer.
"We were part of something that big," she said.
She said the senior class is very bright, with many classmates going to many different colleges and universities with scholarships.
Kesig said many athletic teams also were successful during her high school career.
"I'll always remember beating DeSales in football," she said. "That was a cool game to be a part of. ... The basketball and soccer teams achieved success, and the baseball team had to get their diplomas first last year so they could go play in a game."
More than the events, though, Kesig said, she'll remember her classmates and teachers.
"I feel the memories I've made were with the people rather than the events, with the jokes you shared and the way the teachers felt about you," she said.
Kesig said she plans to attend Wittenberg University in the fall, majoring in communication and minoring in Spanish.
During commencement ceremonies, Dr. Mike Bowie, pastor of Stonybrook United Methodist Church, will be the guest speaker.
McKenna and Kesig will provide brief closing remarks.
"I will wish them all good luck," Kesig said. "I'll say they can make a difference in the world, and I hope they find something that makes them happy."