Emotions ran high throughout the J.B Chambers Performing Arts Center at Wheeling Park High School during the 2013 Senior Awards ceremony Friday.
Laughter, applause, tears and heartfelt speeches recognized the achievements of graduating high school seniors and the awards they received to help them moving forward.
"Today we honor our seniors with the scholarships that they earned as they end their time here at Wheeling Park," Principal Amy Minch said. "We are honoring those who are going on to higher education, careers and the armed services."
Photo by Daniel Dorsch
The 93 recipients of the PROMISE Scholarship in Wheeling Park High School stand to be recognized during the Senior Awards Program on Friday.
According to Minch, 370 seniors are graduating from WPHS this year. The award ceremony saw 158 of those students receiving academic awards in the forms of scholarships and financial aid from a variety of private and professional sources.
Ninety-three students stood as Counselor Patricia Hershey read off the list of graduates receiving the PROMISE Scholarship. According to Jennifer Short, another school counselor, this is an increase from last year's 91 students and there could be more announced soon.
"You have proven yourselves in the classroom and today you are being rewarded," Hershey said. She also commended parents of the scholarship recipients for their unfailing support and encouragement.
A number of scholarships awarded on Friday were dedicated to people who had passed away. Among these was the David Slaysman Memorial Scholarship, dedicated to a WPHS student who died in an automobile accident in 2000. There to present the scholarship were Kathleen, Lleyton, Kiefer and Dylan Slaysman.
Dylan Slaysman said he never met his brother Dave since he, Lleyton and Kiefer were born after David's death. Kiefer Slaysman said the scholarships and events that bear his late brother's name give him a sense of having his brother around still.
WPHS English teacher Bill Cornforth told students their awards also brought them certain duties.
"When you receive a gift like this, there is a responsibility to pass it on through a good cause," Cornforth said. "You owe it to these presenters to give them that and always remember the names on those awards."
Those students who chose to enter the armed services after high school were recognized for their choice to serve their country. U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Richard Zimmerman awarded Abigail Baker a scholarship as part of her educational journey with the military while he also applauded Elijah Barnes who he said will be serving in the Army within the next few weeks.