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.
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:
Robert Baum III
Devin Dickey Jr.
Eric Henry Jr.
James Holt Jr.
Austin Jackson Watkins
Jah’Kyren Tyree Mundy
Ana Pino Rangel
Krista Van Buskirk
Delmary Zayas Colon
You can see the entire ceremony here.
Submitted by Bill Tipple