The speakers at the South-Western City School District's graduation ceremonies will be grade-A quality.

Those speakers will be the valedictorians and salutatorians, selected because they earned the highest grade point averages.

The ceremonies will be held Saturday, June 3, at the Celeste Center, 717 E. 17th Ave., at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

Franklin Heights High School's graduation will take place at 9 a.m., followed by Central Crossing High School at noon, Westland High School at 3:30 p.m. and Grove City High School at 6:30 p.m.

Central Crossing

Central Crossing is expected to present diplomas to 390 students.

The senior class has earned $7,695,809 in scholarship offers, said Kristy Halleck, who serves as senior class adviser and graduation coordinator with Christa Russell.

"This is such a great group of students," she said. "You always think each year's senior class can't be topped, but then another one always comes along like this year's class.

"I teach seniors, so I'm always working with these kids," Halleck said. "They are a lot of fun -- there are a lot of comedians in this class -- but they are poised to achieve so much. So many of them are going on to college and have plans for careers in a variety of fields."

Central Crossing's valedictorian and salutatorian are twins.

Valedictorian Daniel Cordray has a weighted grade point average of 4.940 and his sister, salutatorian Holly Cordray, earned a GPA of 4.833.

Senior class president Richmond Salanga also will speak at the ceremony.

Grove City

A total of 413 seniors will participate in Grove City's commencement.

"It's an amazing class," said Rachel Rendle, who serves as senior class adviser with Heather Sayre.

The GCHS senior class earned $16.1 million in scholarship offers, a total Rendle calls "astounding."

The student speakers at the ceremony will include a valedictorian and two co-salutatorians.

"We had a tie for salutatorian, which I don't think has ever happened here," Rendle said.

Valedictorian Samuel Bennett has a 4.914 grade point average.

Co-salutatorians Joseph Sutton and Marissa Werner each earned a 4.83 GPA.

Senior class president Tanner Kennaw also will speak at the ceremony.

The event will feature a performance of the song "Once Upon a Time" from the musical "Brooklyn" by seniors Hannah Congrove, Alexandra Crumbacher, Lauren Lash, Natalie Seitz and Caitlin Spittler.

Seniors Troy Plageman and Paige Vincent also produced a video that will be shown during the ceremony.

"This is a class that you will be hearing from in the future," Rendle said. "Ten or 15 years from now, they will be achieving great things and we'll know they came from Grove City High School."

Franklin Heights

Franklin Heights' class of 2017 "is an awesome group of students," guidance counselor and graduation coordinator Carol Coudle said.

"Academic achievement, scholarship awards, athletic honors, career technical awards, community involvement -- this class has done it all," she said.

Coudle said the FHHS class has 277 students in it, but some are not graduating due to the Ohio Graduation Test and other issues. She said she believes around 250 students will receive diplomas, but with students still taking exams that they need to pass, a final number is hard to determine.

The valedictorian is Ian Mboya, who earned a weighted GPA of 4.07. He will be studying microbiology at Ohio State University.

The salutatorian is Jiezel Deypalbous, who plans to major in biology at Ohio State.

"There are many other outstanding students in this class," Coudle said. "The top 15 students all have a GPA that is above 4.0."

While offers are still coming in, the senior class so far has earned nearly $2 million in scholarships, she said.

One student, Maddy Castle, has committed to attending the U.S. Naval Academy and has earned about $250,000 in scholarship money, Coudle said.

Graduation is always a bittersweet event for educators, she said.

"You're excited for the students and what lies ahead for them, but, you sure do hate to see them leave," Coudle said. "I've been involved with this class since even before ninth grade when I went to visit them at Finland Middle School. I'm going to miss them."


Three-hundred Westland High School seniors are expected to receive diplomas, said guidance counselor Christina Shore, who serves as graduation coordinator.

Westland's class of 2017 has earned more than $2.8 million in scholarship dollars, Shore said.

Valedictorian Kara Flint has a weighted GPA of 4.697 and has received more than $269,000 in scholarship offers "for her strong academic accomplishments, leadership and extracurricular activities," Shore said.

Flint has participated in band, drama and choir while attending Westland. She plans to attend Ohio State and study biomedical engineering.

Flint is a third-generation valedictorian, Shore said.

Salutatorian Jimmy Tran has a weighted GPA of 4.588 and received more than $140,000 in scholarship offers. He will attend the University of Cincinnati and plans to study computer engineering.

The senior class is "very conscientious and socially aware," Shore said.

"We hosted Rachel's Challenge (an organization working to reduce bullying, harassment and violence in schools) and Tyler's Light (a drug awareness and education program) this year and the guest presenters complimented our seniors on how respectful they were," she said. "The senior class emerged as leaders and worked to make Westland a better place."