Tri-Village News

A new kind of signing day

Seniors declare their colleges, but this time the focus is on academic success

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RYAN M.L. YOUNG/THISWEEKNEWS
Grandview Heights High School senior Sam Brown stands up to declare that he will attend Ohio State University during the school's Academic Signing Day, held Tuesday, April 29. Other honorees pictured are (from left): Zach Brannan, Peter Bonn, Madeline Bills, Halliday Bair, Tenley Aufdencamp and Amelia Akers.

Signing days put student athletes in the spotlight.

Now, Grandview Heights High School has turned that spotlight toward its academic stars.

The school held its first Academic Signing Day on Tuesday, April 29.

Forty-one seniors announced during the event which college they will attend next year.

"The benchmark was that any student who earned at least a $20,000 scholarship from an institution was able to participate," Principal Ken Chaffin said.

The event, which was held in the school auditorium, parallels the signing days held for students who earn athletic scholarships, Chaffin said.

"Except here the focus is on recognizing academic achievement," he said.

During the ceremony, each student announced his or her college choice and thanked parents, family members and teachers who helped them along the way.

The chance for the scholarship students to have the spotlight on them "is a reward for their hard work," Chaffin said.

The goal also is to encourage students "to begin developing an academic vision for themselves as early as possible," he said.

Grandview is one of only a handful of Ohio schools that holds an Academic Signing Day, Chaffin said.

"As far as we know, there are only about 10 schools in Ohio that have such an event," he said.

One of those is Piqua High School, Chaffin's previous school.

"When I came to Grandview (at the start of this school year), one of the traditions I told (college and career counselor) Jane O'Shaughnessy that I definitely wanted to start here was Academic Signing Day," Chaffin said.

O'Shaughnessy, as it turned out, created perhaps the state's first Academic Signing Day when she served as a college and career counselor at Hilliard Davidson High School, Chaffin said.

The 41 students who earned the chance to participate in Grandview's Academic Signing Day comprise more than half of this year's senior class, Chaffin said.

The students and their college choices are:

Amelia Akers, University of Cincinnati; Tenley Aufdencamp, St. Mary's College; Halliday Bair, University of New England; Madeline Bills, University of Illinois; Peter Bonn, University of Cincinnati; Zach Brannan, Ohio State University; Sam Brown, Ohio State; Sam Callison, University of Vermont; Sam Claypool, Ohio University; Mary Kate Dempsey, Ohio State; Sierra Dobbs-Brown, College of Charleston; Nicholas Eaton, Ohio University; Lucas Evans, Belmont University; Natalie Ferris, undecided (either Ohio State or Wittenberg University); Claire Holliday, undecided (either Ohio State or Case Western Reserve University); Owen Hopper, Otterbein University; Kiley Kinnard, University of Richmond; William Kramer, undecided;

Emily Linville, Cleveland Institute of Art; Callie Luckenbach, Virginia Commonwealth University; Cecylia Luckenbach, Ohio State; Nicholas Luckenbach, Ohio State; Elinor MacLeod, Miami University; Josephine Martina, Ohio State; Benjamin McCollough, University of New England; Patrick McHugh, Ohio State; Luke Miller, Webster University; Timothy Murphy, Central State University; Makenzie Olasin Scott, Ashland University; A.J. Pinyerd, Ohio State; Adrienne Reau, Point Park University; Gabriela Romero-Rose, Ohio Wesleyan University; Laura Satterthwaite, University of South Carolina; Grace VanFossen, University of Kentucky; Drew Waybright, Rollins College; Natalie Webb, Ohio State; and Alexander York, Arizona State University.

Honorees who were unable to attend the ceremony are Natalie DePalma, Noah King, Morgan Ramey and Corinne Rase.

The 41 students earned more than $3.7 million in total scholarship offers.

"It's an incredible testament to our students, their parents, our high school staff and the community," Chaffin said. "It's an amazing record of accomplishment."

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