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Hudson -- The 410-member Hudson High School Class of 2013, which walked across the stage May 29 for commencement at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall in Akron, is being called a record breaker.
The class received a record-breaking $8.2 million in scholarships, including $237,000 awarded by local organizations, according to the district. The previous record was $7 million, received by the Class of 2012.
Hudson High School Principal Brian Wilch called the class "one of the nicest, most polite, accomplished, high achieving, yet considerate graduating classes in recent memory."
"It's no secret that we at school consider ourselves very fortunate to work together with such supportive and involved parents in one of the premier school districts in the state of Ohio," Wilch said during the ceremony. "It's often said that the active participation of both parents and educators is what makes the school-home collaboration such a simple, yet vital and powerful concept."
Wilch commended parents for having "done an exceptional job by not only by setting expectations high, but for encouraging your children, and supporting their dreams and aspirations to such levels where they are now poised to graduate with the highest of honors; to leave our school district, and to leave your homes, fully prepared for whatever their futures hold."
Among the honors earned by the 128th graduating class were: 125 members of the National Honor Society; 180 who received the State of Ohio Honors diploma for a 3.5 GPA and a 27 composite score on the ACT; 177 who received the State Award of Distinction for a 3.5 or higher GPA; 118 who received the Award of Merit for a 3.0 GPA or higher and 72 who had a 4.0 GPA or higher. The class also had 27 National Merit Scholars, 17 commended and 10 National Merit finalists.
Grace Lu, class valedictorian, earned a 4.915 and will attend the University of Chicago. Karthik Bolisetty, the class salutatorian, earned a 4.749 GPA and will attend the Wharton School of Business.
"Graduation is the biggest milestone our class has passed in our lives thus far. Seeing all my classmates whom I have grown up with walk across the stage with wide smiles, I was filled with the bittersweet feeling that has come to define senior year," Grace said. "While it is sad leaving behind the past, the future presents endless possibilities that are only feasible from the love and support from our time growing up in Hudson."
Two students were appointed to military academies. One student will attend Norwich University and join the core of cadets in the Marine Corps option. Two students received ROTC scholarships, and two students enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
There was also a student among the class, Sean Newby, who had perfect attendance for all four years.
The commencement was the sixth Superintendent Steve Farnsworth has celebrated with Hudson and 31st overall. This will also be his last with Hudson. Farnsworth announced earlier this year that he was retiring.
"I have participated in 31 commencements as an administrator and the six I have witnessed in Hudson stand out as the most impressive, the most entertaining, and those with the most class," Farnsworth said. "Our high school administration promotes the active involvement of the students in many ways and the students never disappoint us."
Farnsworth said class members "regularly have some surprises such as a flash mob, a video, or, as with the class of 2013, a lip dub and the presentation of a school bell" during their speeches and commencement performances.
"The commencement ceremony was outstanding, well organized, well run, and with an attitude of celebration for our graduates and for our very special school district," Farnsworth added.
Phil Herman, who was attending his last graduation as assistant superintendent said "it was as honor just to be present at graduation."
"The ceremony highlighted the many accomplishments and outstanding talents of our senior class," Herman, who will take over as superintendent in August, said. "Throughout the ceremony I was constantly reminded that, if it is this generation who will one day care for us, we are in good hands."
Doreen Osmun, director of curriculum and instruction, will take over for Herman as assistant superintendent.
"It has always been a highlight to attend Hudson High School graduation," Osmun said. "The students are at the center of the night demonstrating their talents through public speaking and the arts."
Osmun called the graduation "a celebration of the students and who they are as individuals and as a class."
"It is also a time to celebrate the accomplishments of our school district," Osmun said. "We all had a part in this night, whether you are a student, parent, community member, administrator, staff member, or teacher."
Those in attendance were treated to a variety of student, faculty and administration speakers, as well as several musical performances.
The class also helped Hudson High School to be ranked nationally in polls by Newsweek, The Washington Post and US News and World Report.
"We're sad to see this class move on--they were such a well-rounded group of genuinely nice kids," Wilch said June 3. Wilch said there has been a lot of positive feedback from the diverse performances, stirring speeches and attention to each graduate" during commencement.
"Those few included in the program represent countless others who are as talented and who may have their own inspiring stories to tell about going to school at Hudson High School," he added. "We have many, many outstanding students who have worked very hard in high school and will be very successful at whatever comes next."
Wilch said he was proud of not only the graduates, but the entire student population of HHS.
"I'll hold our graduates--the entire student body for that matter--up against any other in the state and I'm confident Hudson High School will leave others utterly impressed," Wilch said. "We are so proud of our graduates and their families; we wish them the best going forward."