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HUDSON -- As the highly decorated Hudson High School class of 2017 walked across the stage at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall May 17 it scored its final 100 percent as a class.
Of the 391 seniors hoping to earn the paper which signifies the end of one chapter of life and the beginning of another -- 100 percent of the class received their diplomas, according to Principal Brian Wilch.
The number was down just a bit from last year's 410.
The 132nd graduating class of Hudson High School walked across the stage having earned and accepted $9.4 million in scholarships from local organizations, colleges and universities, Federal Academies and the military, according to Wilch.
According to the proud principal, the class was record breaking when it came to academia as well as sports.
"A record 182 graduates are wearing gold tassels as members of the National Honor Society--and another 112 wear cords of various colors in recognition of their respective honor societies in the arts, sciences, languages and theatre," Wilch told the gathered crowd. "Another school record . . . 212 seniors, more than half the class, have earned the State of Ohio Honors Diploma."
The honors diploma represents earning a 3.5 grade-point average and a 27 composite on the ACT, Wilch said. Honors Diploma recipients were designated in the Commencement program and the diplomas had a gold emblem.
The class was also nationally ranked by The Washington Post and US News & World Report and Newsweek's ranking last fall of No. 3 high schools in Ohio and No. 1 the Northern half of the state.
"The Class of 2017 has held their own by successfully mastering the most rigorous programming any high school can offer--taking advantage of 24 Advanced Placement offerings and sitting for the lion's share of almost 1500 tests this year," Wilch added. "If previous years' success rates carry over to this year, over 80 percent of our test-takers will be notified of passing scores later in June, saving themselves and parents significant tuition dollars."
The class also had 192 seniors graduate with honors according to the Cum Laude recognition system, signifying a final, cumulative grade point average of an A- or higher--that's no easy feat at a challenging high school like HHS, Wilch added.
Seventy graduates wore bronze medals representing a GPA between 3.67 to 3.99 and 77 graduates who finished with GPA average between 4.0 and 4.33, Magna Cum Laude. And 45 seniors graduated Summa Cum Laude, above a 4.33, Wilch said.
According to Wilch, the class also had 18 National Merit Scholars, 13 commended and five graduates who scored in the top 1 percent of all seniors nationwide, earning distinction of National Merit Finalist.
According to Wilch the class was responsible for 14 NOC Championships in its former league; 14 Suburban League Championships; 19 district championships; 16 regional appearances; 15 state qualifying and a variety of other athletic honors.
"Returning to the Suburban League, a conference we helped establish back in 1949, then departed in 1997, our senior-led Explorers have earned the All-Sports Trophy in the National Conference for the second consecutive year--yes, it's official, the Cup will be awarded next September and returned to Hudson High School," Wilch said. "Just this year alone, members of the senior class anchored much of our success in athletics. In the fall, boys soccer team won the conference and qualified for regionals; our boys golf team also won the Suburban League with an undefeated record."
The class also had top performers in golf, tennis, football, cross country, gymnastics, ice hockey, swimming and the relay, Wilch said.
Like a father touting the accomplishments of his children, Wilch gave honor to every program, club and activity the seniors participated in, including service hours in the community.
Students logged 22,841 hours of volunteerism from the National Honor Society and more than 43,000 total.
Several members of the class are moving on to the military with two joining the United States Army, two joining the Army National Guard and one joining Army ROTC.
"Hudson High School has a rich history of appointments to any one of the five Federal Academies. Nominations from one's state senator or House of Representatives member is required for a nomination to arguably some of the most selective institutions of higher learning in the nation. Would Grace Graham please stand . . . congratulations on your appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland," Wilch said. "Matt Restifo . . . please stand in recognition of your appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, Long Island. Hudson High is proud of your military service commitments to our nation."
Collectively the graduates were awarded more than $270,750 in scholarships by organizations in the Hudson community, $1,576,000 from military branches and $7,558,000 in college, university and corporate scholarships.
"That brings the total scholarships and grants accepted to just over $9.4 million," Wilch said. "Impressive, seniors; I'm sure all in attendance are equally proud."
"Tonight and in the days to come, you will receive many congratulatory comments and also, many words of advice," Superintendent Phil Herman told the graduates. "It is my hope you savor the moment and enjoy the well-deserved accolades, as you are graduating from one of the best public schools in the State of Ohio and in the nation."
Herman told the class he became superintendent as they were entering Hudson High School as freshmen.
"And in many ways we have learned and grown up together. And for that, I want to thank you," he said. "Congratulations, class of 2017! I wish all the best for you and for a future of success and happiness."