With graduation ceremonies just around the corner, Whitehall Board of Education members on April 11 formally approved the list of 153 seniors for commencement exercises in June.

With graduation ceremonies just around the corner, Whitehall Board of Education members on April 11 formally approved the list of 153 seniors for commencement exercises in June.

This year, Whitehall-Yearling High School will graduate 153 students, "pending satisfactory completion of state and local requirements."

In the past, that number has been as high as 179 and as low as 128.

The graduation ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Aladdin Shrine Center near the Easton Town Center.

Lunch prices rising again

The Whitehall school board on April 11 approved an increase in lunch prices for the district.

This is the second year in a row the cost of lunch in Whitehall has been on the rise.

Last year, based on a federal government requirement, the district was forced to increase the price of its basic elementary school lunch from $2 to $2.15. Middle and high school lunches went from $2.25 to $2.40. It was the first time in three years that lunch prices had been raised in Whitehall.

For the 2013-14 school year, elementary school lunches will increase another 10 cents to $2.25 each. Middle and high school lunches will jump to $2.50 each.

Superintendent Judyth Dobbert-Meloy attributes the increase to the federal government.

"That's not our desire," Dobbert-Meloy told school board members earlier this month.

2013-14 starts Sept. 4

The first day for students in the 2013-14 school year will be Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Kindergartners will start the school year Sept. 6.

The new high school is expected to be ready to accept students when they return in September.

According to project manager Craig Kertesz of Ruscilli Construction, work on the final building in Whitehall is on schedule.

"It's going to get very busy, though," he told board members and district officials this month.

Not only is the new high school slated for completion, but the renovation of the old Kae Avenue Elementary School also will get underway this summer, along with the renovation of the existing portion of Whitehall-Yearling High School.

The old Rosemore Middle School building will be torn down in the fall after the high school students move into their new building.

The addition of the district's 12 new classrooms to the three new elementaries also likely will begin in the summer.

District officials and board members met in special session in January to discuss the district's overcrowding problem and a plan to address that and other construction issues. During the special session, members informally agreed with the district's recommendation to add 12 new classrooms to Whitehall's three new elementary schools -- a recommendation also endorsed by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (formerly the Ohio School Facilities Commission).

"It will probably be the busiest time of the project," Kertesz said of the coming summer months.

In an effort to facilitate the summer's projects, board members formally approved the transfer of some of the district's interest earnings on the construction funding earlier this month into the district's general-fund budget.

According to district treasurer Steve McAfee, he expects the overall $80 million project to come in about $6.2 million under budget. That, combined with some $70,000 in interest earnings on the construction funds, will give the district $6.3 million in available funds for the additional classrooms and other renovations.

The 12 additional classrooms are expected to cost about $3.2 million. After that cost is subtracted from the $6.3 million in available funds and the state is reimbursed for its portion of the remaining amount, McAfee expects Whitehall to be left with some $2.2 million to be used to convert the old Kae Avenue Elementary School into preschool classrooms and to renovate the back portion of the old high school.

The 153 White-Yearling High School seniors who have been approved for 2013 commencement exercises are as follows:

Ifa Abduljelil, Fatima Abdullah, Amina Abokor, Kyle Abshire, Milton Anderson, Fiyori Asheber, Carlee Atkins, Andrea Barfknecht, Torri Barry, Marquis Barton, Tabetha Baumann, Charles Berry, Daniel Blancett, Daniel Blevins, Brandon Bogardus, Anna Butler, Jessica Butler, Chorsie Calbert IV, Raven Calhoun, Huitzil Carlos, Demetrius Carr Jr., Aaron Carver, Anthony Clark, Chad Clites, Trustcia Cogdell, Alyssah Coleman, Ashley Coleman, Charles Cramer-Hillard, Marquis Crim, Donald Decker, Joshua Delgadillo, Abrham Dessa, Kevin Dinkins, Samson Edessa, Cassidy Edwards, Stephen Ellis Jr., Megan Elmore, Jonell Esquivel, Peter Estrada, Danielle Farnlacher, Delina Farnlacher, Alexander Farrow, Brittani Faucett, Brooke Faucett, David Fischer, Joseph Fravel, Charles Frazier, Seth Fuller, Dionna Gadison, Ezekiel Gaines, Jaquan Gantt, Diedra Gardner, Tangie Gent, Melanie Gilmer, Samantha Gogol, Curaun Gossett, Seth Grassel, Triston Gray, Troy Gray, Lori Hale, Emily Hamler, Presley Harbert, Jaliyah Harrell, Kadeja Harris, Raven Hatten, Albaro Hernandez, Esmeralda Hernandez, Najee Hodge, Jaquan Hoover, Joshua Horn, Bryce Hortz, Kayla Jervis, Danielle Johnson, Joshua Johnson, Shynice Johnson, Heather Jones, Michaela Jones, Conner Kegler, Mussie Ketema, Abiel Kiflu, Mahlet Kinde, Meghan King, Seweh Kpan, Davetti Krug, Reine Kudzin, Bret Kuehner, Jessica Leary, Keith Lees, Tamika Levy, Legene Lewis, Manuel Lofton, Rodolfo Lopez Jr., Amber Lucas, Autumn Lucas, Janet Luna Marin, Tyler Lyons, Kara Malone, Richard Manning III, Jessie Masters, Emely Mayen, Clara Meade, Jared Midkiff, Ashley Miku, Amber Miller, Glen Miller, Aaron Milliken, Derric Moore, Justin Moore, Jaleel Morgan, Krishel'le Morrow, Paloma Munoz, Katlyn O'Neil, Jonathan Parker, Marcus Pearce, Joses Perrot, Garrett Persinger, Amari Price, Miranda Quesenberry, Roland Ridenour, Aimie Rieder, Dulce Rodriguez, Juan Rodriguez, Oscar Rubio Jr., Mamie Russell, David Salcido, Shawna Santurello, Ciara Scott, Zakaria Sharif Omar, Antonio Shears, Tafere Shiferaw, Mary Sidner, Ta'Shara Smith, Victoria Snyder, Isaiah St. Victor, Joseph Straight, Kidus Tadesse, Breana Teed, Julio Tejada, Paulus Thomas III, Mohamed Toure, Christopher Towns, Jeffrey Turner, Jose Vargas Espinoza, Christopher Walker, Marissa Ware, Logan Webb, Ramon Weldemicael, Jessie Wells, Jason Wollaston-Thomas, Bianca Wright, Schuyler Wright, Casey Yohman and Noah Young.