Bellefontaine High School graduates encouraged to find their passion


The 2023 Bellefontaine High School graduates celebrated their many successes at Friday night’s commencement at AcuSport Stadium.

The 181 grads were recognized for some impressive academic accomplishments. This year’s senior class was awarded nearly $1.1 million in scholarships. Several seniors had a 4.0 or higher grade point average.

The keynote speaker was 1964 BHS grad Spencer Reames.

Mr. Reames urged the grads to find their passion in their career path. The longtime educator learned his passion as a teen at Bellefontaine High School. Reames reflected on how his chemistry teacher at BHS spurred his desire to become a teacher. Spencer just finished his 55th year of teaching science at Benjamin Logan High School.

Reames used longtime Bellefontaine City Schools teacher Phil Forsythe as an example for the graduates. Reames commented, “Teaching is not a job for Phil; it’s his passion.”

Forsythe was recently recognized for 50 years with Bellefontaine City Schools.

Reames then detailed how his son, Aaron, followed his passion. Aaron works for a large biotech company that identifies functional cures for life-threatening diseases. The company’s research has gained worldwide notoriety in the last few years by helping patients overcome diabetes and Hepatitis C.

Reames said, “Find your passion. You’ll never work a day in your life. Embrace your passion, then develop that passion.”

This year’s valedictorian is Kirsten Hand, daughter of Andrew and Jennifer Hand. Hand had a 4.66 grade point average. She spent her junior year taking classes at The Ohio State University. Kirsten then studied at Ohio Northern University this school year. She has completed 60 percent of her college courses. Hand will continue to pursue a degree in accounting at ONU.

The salutatorian is Mason DeLong, son of Gregory and Michelle DeLong. DeLong maintained a 4.52 grade point average. He will study aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

The remaining top ten grads are Kayla Watkins, Mekenzie Flora, Montanna Buck, Landon Kelley, Donald LaRoche, Braelyn Wilcoxon, Ally Barker, and Sophie Adelsberger.

Buck along with Carter Snapp earned their associate’s degrees from Clark State.

The BHS Class of 2023 Top Ten Graduates

Four grads who enlisted were spotlighted as well. They include Parker Osborn, Brendon Burkholder, Henry Cushman, and Troy Smith.

This year’s BHS Distinguished Alumni are Spencer Reames (Class of ’64), Alison Marker (Class of ’00), and Jeff Wiley (Class of ’01).

BHS Principal Jason Brown emceed the commencement. He said, “I’m proud of the senior class. They were rising tides for us throughout the year. They helped us set a high standard at BHS. They set the tone for classes that will follow them.”

Here’s a list of the 2023 Bellefontaine High School graduates:

Kirsten Hand
Mason DeLong
Kayla Watkins
Mekenzie Flora
Montanna Buck
Landon Kelley
Donald LaRoche
Braelyn Wilcoxon
Ally Barker
Sophie Adelsberger
Zhatavious Alexander
Haley Anderson
Lauren Anderson
Drake Argabright
Jose Argueta-Mejia
Sullivan Ashcraft
Zain Bailey
Corbin Baker
Grace Barrett
Robert Baum III
Paiden Beair
Joseph Boop
Brooke Briggs
Kahne Brugler
Brendon Burkholder
Jordan Butler
Alex Caudill
Ian Christen
Richard Clapp
Trysten Clerico
Jordan Clifton
Seth Close
Keyon Collier
Demetrius Collins
Summer Conner
Katelyn Crabill
Blake Cramer
Henry Cushman
Zoey Daugherty
McKenize Davenport
Courtney Davis
Collin Deitsch
Faith Denkewalter
Damian Dick
Devin Dickey Jr.
Matthew Drake
Katelyn Esh
Emma Fails
Gabriel Foreman
Aundrea Foulk
Zane Gamble
Devin George
Griffin Graham
Daniel Grumbling
Jacob Harber
Lucas Harrington
Kaytlyn Harvey
Peyton Hayduk
Eric Henry Jr.
Morgan Henry
James Holt Jr.
Caedyn Hood
Hilary Horn
Trinity Horn
Zachary Horvath
Alexander Houser
Maggie Howard
Aubrey Hudson
Devin Huffman
Brandon Hunsicker
Thomas Hunsicker
Nicholas Hunter
Maryssa Hurley
Jack Hutchins
Austin Jackson Watkins
Tristen Jacobs
Morgan Johns
Jazander Johnson
Leyla Johnson
Trenton Johnson
Karlee Kabua
Kayleigh Karg
Darric Kaufman
Sierra Kenner
Brianna Kiefer
Brianna Kindle
Spencer Lane
Carter LeVan
Gabriel Levering
Allison Love
Kristina Lytle
Terran Maier
Aliya McCary
Blake McDonald
Karlei Mechling
Corleone Medina
Nova Merrin
Lexis Meyers
Aidan Mifsud
Courtney Miller
Scott Millis
Austin Moore
Matthew Mott
Jah’Kyren Tyree Mundy
Ethan Murphy
Curtis Myers
Julia Nelson
Brianna Niswonger
Auston Oaks
James Oliver
Parker Osborn
Keagon Overton-Story
Lily Palmer
Alexa Parker
Elizabeth Parker
Vansh Patel
Jesse Peepels
Reece Peepels
Jasmine Pellman
Rileigh Petty
Andrew Phillips
Noah Phillips
Maliah Pierce
Ana Pino Rangel
Mayson Plikerd
Areanna Poe
Mikala Poll
Tierani Priest
Anushervon Qoziev
Unique Quattlebaum
Laken Radde
Jordan Ramos
Robert Randall
Ashwin Rathor
Kaden Reames
Alexis Reed
Lane Reeves
Abigail Riblet
Kayden Rice
Christopher Ritzma
Savannah Robbins
Joslyn Robinson
Latoya Rogan
Marley Ropp
Aaron Roy
Marcus Schaefer
Ava Schaffer
Ayden Scott
Audrie Sellars
Alayna Shaeffer
Declan Shannon
Dakota Shell
Braden Shirk
Lillian Shultz
Mary-Kate Slayback
Trenton Smedley
Raeon Smith
Troy Smith
William Smith
Carter Snapp
Jaxon Sopher
Kylan Stone
Austin Sumler
Emma Swisher
Travis Taylor
Ashley Thomas
Grace Thomas
William Timberlake
Olivia Ullom
Krista Van Buskirk
Destinee VanHoose
Draven VanSchoyck
Max Varner
Allison Wallace
Nathan Wallace
Jillian Williams
Logan Williams
Madison Williams
Gavin Wilson
Maurel Wilson
Delmary Zayas Colon

You can see the entire ceremony here.

Submitted by Bill Tipple