The crowding situation at the Olentangy Local School District's three high schools is dire enough that a fourth is under construction.

While their hallways may have been jam-packed, the schools' principals said they could not keep the class of 2017 down.

Liberty High School has the largest of the three senior classes, with about 480 students set to graduate at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 28, at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

Principal William Warfield said the cramped conditions at his school did not lead to many problems or complaints from students.

"We're extremely lucky to have the situation we had," he said. "Our kids are resilient."

Warfield said students did not just survive in packed classrooms and hallways, they thrived. He said the group has academic, artistic and athletic achievements that would stack up well against any other class.

"They're kids that are going to be really successful in the future," he said.

Orange High School Principal Kathy McFarland said her school's seniors also adapted well to the stresses of sharing space with hundreds of fellow students. Slightly more than 400 Orange students are expected to walk across the stage starting at 2 p.m. May 28 at the expo center.

"Kids adjust and are pretty flexible when things change," she said. "They did a really great job of understanding the hallways are a little more crowded."

McFarland said the members of Orange's class of 2017 are a diverse, yet tight-knit group.

"They've really grown in their capacity to recognize and understand differences," she said.

At Olentangy High School, just shy of 400 students are expected to graduate starting at 6 p.m. May 28 at the center. Principal Tom McDonnell said Olentangy's class of 2017 also was a group that cared about diversity, forming several new clubs with the goal of inclusion.

"This class has a special, welcoming personality that permeates through the school," he said.

McDonnell said it's tough to pick one area in which the class exceeded expectations.

"I believe our students have excelled in the classroom, athletic arena and the performing arts," he said, "and they're a really nice group to be around."

Among the Olentangy Local School District's graduating class of about 1,300, three students will stand out for special recognition as valedictorians on graduation day: Celia Zhang at Liberty; Adithe Rivaldi at Orange; and Monish Yeluguri at Olentangy.

The district's full day of graduation festivities is expected to wrap up about 8 p.m. May 28.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@TWGallick