The 322 students in the class of 2018 will be the first to accept their diplomas in the renovated Cruiser Stadium during Groveport Madison High School's graduation Friday, May 25.

The ceremony, which does not require tickets, will be held on the new artificial turf field donated by Pittsburgh Steelers runningback Le'Veon Bell, a Groveport Madison alumnus.

Jeff Warner, the district's marketing, communications and community relations officer, said this will be the first time in many years graduation will be held at the stadium.

"We are able to do so because of the artificial turf field," Warner said. "Apparently, holding graduation in the stadium was a longstanding tradition."

Speaking at the ceremony will be a record-setting nine valedictorians for the class of 2018, hs said.

Warner said the theme for their speeches is "Past, Present, Future."

The valedictorians are:

* Lauren Barnes, daughter of Lisa and John Barnes and the school district's first National Merit scholar. She plans to attend Ohio Wesleyan University and major in chemistry.

* Audrey Brown, daughter of Angela Cramer, who will attend Ohio University and major in middle childhood education.

* Carolyn Cramblit, daughter of John and Denise Cramblit, who plans to attend Capital University and major in pre-med and minor in business.

* Cheyenne Evans, daughter of Leah and Sam Evans, who will attend Ohio State University and major in nursing.

* Alyssa Gordon, daughter of Jon and Jennifer Gordon, will attend Ohio State to major in linguistics.

* Kaitlyn Martin, daughter of Jody and Kelly Martin, will study at Columbus State for one semester, then transfer to the University of Cincinnati to major in pre-med.

* Seth Porter, son of Kristy McGuire and Bill Porter, who plans to attend Miami University and major in political science and statistics.

* Carsyn Saunder, daughter of Angela and Ronald Saunder, who plans to attend Otterbein University and major in accounting.

* Morgan Whiting, daughter of Emily and Christopher Whiting, who plans to attend Wright State University and major in pre-med.

In addition to the valedictorians, Groveport Madison interim Superintendent John Hurd and school board President Bryan Shoemaker will speak at the ceremony.

Special music will be provided by the GMHS Symphonic Band and Choir.

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