It's officially graduation season, and over the next two weeks, more than 400 seniors at Clintonville high schools will toss their caps into the air.

This weekend, 239 Bishop Watterson High School seniors will walk across the stage.

Watterson will hold its graduation at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 25, at the school, 99 E. Cooke Road.

Outside of the class of 2019's accomplishments and plans, principal Chris Campbell praised students' service record and participation and said they were willing to "look outside themselves."

"There's something about them that they're always kind of looking out for somebody else," he said. "That's the thing that really stands out for me about them.

"Yes, they're good students and they've got over $24 million in scholarships, and all that's wonderful -- but really, especially as a Catholic school, we push that service and that idea of others and caring for others. They really have embraced that."

This Watterson senior class also had to deal with the death of 17-year-old Payton Elizabeth Young in February 2018.

Campbell said class members pulled together after that tragedy, and he said he was proud of their response.

"It was a pretty tragic loss and was pretty devastating," he said.

"With that, they became really close and bonded as a class. It really kind of brought them together. A lot of times, people that age don't have that experience. As traumatic as it was, it brought them closer as a class."

Watterson has 17 valedictorians -- students who earned a 4.0 grade-point average or higher and who took at least 12 honors or Advanced Placement classes -- as well as 76 students graduating with honors, 103 students who earned the President's Award for Educational Excellence, and students attending 55 colleges.

"They've set the example for the classes below them," Campbell said. "Anyone in high school will tell you that if you have a good senior class, it'll be a good year. If you don't, it will be a long year. This year has flown by."

At Whetstone High School, an estimated 185 students will graduate at 8:30 a.m. June 1 as part of Columbus City Schools' ceremonies at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High St.

Principal Janet Routzong said the theme of Whetstone's 2019 class has been "perseverance."

"This class has been a class that has certainly worked hard," she said. "They have persevered. I think perseverance is a really good adjective to describe the class, both academically and in their strive and preparation for their future.

"Whether it's the college credits that they took advantage of while they were still in high school, being certified in a trade through our career center ... there has been a lot of participation in making sure they have plans for their future."

The class has about 25 National Honor Society members and eight valedictorians, or students who acheived a 4.0 grade-point average or higher.

Routzong said the message from the district this school year has been "What is your path?"

She said this class started "not fully aware of all the opportunities that can be provided to them," and has grown to embrace those opportunities as the year went on.

"Whether you're a freshman or a senior, it's about planning and your path," she said. "When I was in school, there used to just be one pathway: You just graduated. ... Now, there are so many different pathways for students, it's incredible."

Those who can't attend Whetstone's graduation ceremony have another option this year.

For the first time, all high school commencement ceremonies in Columbus City Schools will be streamed live online, said Jacqueline Bryant, spokeswoman for the district.

Using Facebook Live, the district plans to provide a video feed of each ceremony, beginning May 29 with the graduation ceremony for Columbus Scioto 6-12, 2951 S. High St., Bryant said.

From any computer or mobile device, people will be able to watch the ceremonies in their entirety, she said.

On graduation day, visit the district's Facebook page, @ColumbusCitySchools, and look for the live feed, Bryant said. The videos will be available to watch on Facebook after the events as well, she said.

ThisWeek staff writer Gary Seman Jr. contributed to this story.

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