Darke County’s Top of the Class 2017


DARKE COUNTY — As some may know, Woody Hayes was a college football coach who is best remembered for winning five national titles and 13 Big Ten championships in 28 years, at The Ohio State University.

He is also known for giving moving commencement speeches. Something he likes to quote in those speeches is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1841 essay “Compensation” the idea of paying it forward. Hayes made a few changes in this quote in a commencement speech from 1986, but the meaning is intact.

“‘You can pay back only seldom, you can always pay forward and you must pay line for line, deed for deed, and cent for cent. Beware of too much good accumulating in your palm or it will fast corrupt’. That was Emerson’s attitude and no one put it better than he did,” Hayes said.

As Darke County welcomes another year of graduates, the world awaits more possibilities of making it a better place. Here are the Darke County Graduation dates and some of the Valedictorians and Salutatorians of 2017.

Ansonia: Sunday, May 28, 2 p.m.

Valedictorian Katelyn Marie Warner is the daughter of Christopher and Jennifer Warner. She will attend Ball State University in the fall, majoring in English Education with a minor in Sacred Music.

Salutatorian Sarah Gwen Murphy is the daughter of James Murphy and David and Stephanie Hood. She will attend Ohio University in the fall, majoring in Outdoor Recreation and Management Education.

Arcanum: Sunday, June 4, 2 p.m.

Valedictorian Brittany Kinney is the daughter of Robert and Jodi Kinney. She will attend Wright State University and is undecided on her major.

Salutatorian Kalista Harleman is the daughter of David and Brenda Harleman. She will attend Wright State University, majoring in Accounting/Mathematics.

Bradford: Saturday, May 27, 2:30 p.m.

Valedictorian Alex Swabb is the son of Dr. Scott and Jodi Swabb. He has participated in basketball, baseball and golf during his high school career. Alex was awarded the 2017 Honda-Ohio State University Math Medal Award, for Bradford High School. He also has successfully completed Edison State College Courses part – time his junior year, and full time as a senior while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and making Dean’s List. After graduation, Alex plans to attend Wright State University, majoring in Business Management.

Salutatorian Mandi Bates is the daughter of Curtis and Michelle Enis. Over the last four years, she has participated in Varsity Cheerleading, Basketball and Volleyball. She is a member of National Honor Society and is the Vice-President of the organization. Mandi has been a class officer and member of student council, while attending Bradford High School. She was recognized through Edison’s Dean’s List and All Ohio Academic Team. She serves her community by volunteering with Adopt-A-Highway, the local Food Pantry, Darke County Special Olympics and other organizations. After graduation, Mandi will attend Ohio Northern University to study business and play basketball for the lady Polar Bears.

Franklin-Monroe: Saturday, May 27, 7 p.m.

Valedictorian Jade Besecker is the daughter of Jodi and James Besecker. She has participated in track and National Honor Society during her high school career. She received an honors diploma, the 2017 Honda-Ohio State University Math Medal Award, for Franklin Monroe and the Student of Integrity Award. She has attended Edison State Community college and received an associate’s degree. After graduation, Jade plans to attend Miami University, majoring in Kinesiology.

Salutatorian Brett Lavy is the son of Buffy and Stephen Lavy. He has participated in Future Farmers of America, baseball, Art Club and golf during his high school career. He attended Edison State Community College and received an associate’s degree. After graduation, Brett intends to continue working as he decides what direction he plans for the future.

Greenville: Saturday, June 3, 7 p.m.

Valedictorian Mackenzie Kaitlynn Slade is planning to attend Ball State University with a Business major. Her school activities include: Varsity Bowling (Team Captain 1 year and 2 years Girls Bowling MVP), Garden Club (V. P. 11 years), Science Club (4 years), Art Club (V. P. 3 years), Key Club (President 2 years), We Are The Majority (3 years), SADD Club (3 years), Spanish Club (Spanish 2 Student of the Year), National Honor Society (2 years), Varsity G (2 Years), Big Buddies (1 year), Student Council (1 year), Highest Honor Roll every quarter, September Student of the Month, Accelerated English 9 Student of the Year, Advanced English 10 Student of the Year, Studio Art Outstanding Student Award, art selected for Darke County Art Show and Multiple Rosettes in Garden Club at the Darke County Fair. She has also been an active community volunteer.

Salutatorian Jeremy Jacob Eshbaugh is planning to attend the University of Michigan and major in Nuclear Engineering. His school activities include: National Honor Society (President 2 years), National Technical Honor Society (President 2 years), Science Club (Officer 4 years), Engineering Tech Prep (V.P. 2 years), Academician (4 years), Wrestling (3 years), Academic Team (4 years) and NJROTC (4 years and Commanding Officer). He has also been an active community volunteer. He is also: an Eagle Scout (with 3 Palms), a MENSA Member, a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist, Order of the Arrow Brotherhood member, Presidential Scholars Program Nominee, Area 3 Leadership Academy Top Cadet, Honda – OSU Math Medal and the American Legion Scholastic Excellence Medal.

Mississinawa Valley: Friday, May 26, 7 p.m.

Valedictorian Spencer Warren

Salutatorian Kelsie Hunt

Tri-Village: Saturday, June 3, 6 p.m.

Valedictorian Emma Campbell is the daughter of Matt and Jane Combs. Her future plans are to attend Miami University and double major in Mathematics and Mathematics Education with a minor in Spanish.

Valedictorian Alexandra Downing is the daughter of Scott and Rachelle Downing. Her future plans are to attend Belmont Abbey College and major in Accounting/Business.

Valedictorian Shelby Holzapfel is the daughter of Mark and Toni Holzapfel. Her future plans are to attend Wright State University and major in Biomedical Engineering.

Valedictorian Kaylor Pearson is the daughter of Kevin and Kathy Pearson. Her future plans are to attend Biola University with an undecided major.

Valedictorian Carson Shahan is the son of Tim and Michelle Shahan. His future plans are to attend Sinclair part time, finishing out an Aviation Technology degree while working full time in the Aviation Industry.

Valedictorian Makenzie Stucky is the son of Todd and Lisa Stucky. Her future plans are to attend Ball State University and major in Elementary Education.

Salutatorian Jared Quigney is the son of Kim Quigney. His future plans after graduating high school are to attend Indiana University East and major in Criminal Justice.

Salutatorian Tyler Martin is the son of Doug and Beth Martin. His future plans after graduating high school are to attend Wright State University and major in Mechanical Engineering.

Versailles: Sunday, May 28, 1:30 p.m.

Versailles has not yet released their Valedictorian and Salutatorian


By Carolyn Harmon

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The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.

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