Eighty-six seniors are expected to receive their diplomas Sunday, May 27, during commencement for Grandview Heights High School's class of 2018.

The ceremony is set for 3 p.m. in the high school auditorium, 1587 W. Third Ave.

"This is an amazing class. They've excelled from an academic standpoint, from an athletic standpoint and artistically, both in the visual and performing arts. They have been outstanding," senior class adviser Kevin Richards said. "The legacy they are leaving is pretty significant."

"This year's senior class is so many things," Principal Ken Chaffin said. "They are high-achieving, very caring and they are talented.

"They are also very kind but also they will fight for what they believe in," he said. "That's a unique blend to see in high school students."

The seniors earned more than $10 million in scholarship offers.

"We've seen that number grow from $3.7 million for the class of 2014 to the incredible number of scholarships offered to this year's seniors," Chaffin said. "It shows the high level of achievement our students have accomplished."

"A large number of our seniors have chosen to attend college out of state," Richards said. "We'll have students heading out to Colorado, Georgia, New York state and New York City, Chicago, and one student will be attending school in Montreal, Canada."

The keynote speaker will be Kyle Schneider, who is the youngest Olympic gold medalist as well as youngest world champion in American wrestling history.

Schneider, who attended Ohio State University and now lives in Upper Arlington, also was the youngest wrestler to win the World, NCAA and Olympic championships in the same year.

"It will be an incredible opportunity for our seniors to hear from someone who has accomplished such an unbelievable amount in his career and who lives just down the road," Richards said. "We've been fortunate to be able to arrange for some special keynote speakers for our recent graduating classes, including Jim Tressel and E. Gorden Gee. This will be another one."

Seniors James Ely and Jake Kelley will speak during the ceremony.

The student speakers are selected by a committee of teachers who review drafts of speeches submitted by seniors, Richards said.

"They will be speaking for and to their class," he said.

The class of 2018 ended its last day of high school May 16 by participating in the annual Senior Walk.

For the third year, the seniors visited Stevenson Elementary and Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle schools before walking the high school halls one last time, then crossing Third Avenue for a celebration at Bobcat Field.

"About 85 percent of our seniors attended school at Stevenson, so this is a chance for them to take a sentimental journey to where it all started before they leave Grandview," Richards said. "It's always so special to see them walk through the gauntlet of the teachers and students. Many of the teachers at Edison and Stevenson taught these seniors."

The class of 2018 participated May 15 in the annual Senior Service Day, helping to clean up Wyman Woods Park and other city parks before taking the rest of the day off, he said. The annual senior trip to Cedar Point was held May 19 and 20.

Every graduating class is special, but this year's class has even more meaning for both Chaffin and Richards.

Chaffin will leave Grandview in July to become principal at Early College High School in the Marysville Exempted Village School District, where his he and his family live.

"Grandview will always be important to me and my family and that won't change even though I'm leaving," he said.

"I was here when this year's seniors came in as freshmen and I'm privileged to help see them off as they leave high school. They make you proud. They're good students, but you also see their tender side.

"Their core is very pure and you can see the passion they have for the things they care about . That's the formula for success in life."

Chaffin will be replaced by Robert Brown, currently principal at McCord Middle School in Worthington.

Richards' son, Cameron, is among the graduates.

"I've followed this group of seniors a little more closely than other graduating classes, because I've known them since they were in first grade," he said. "I'm going to have the honor of handing his diploma to my son, and that's going to be really special."

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