Class of 2019: A Family That Cares Deeply

Cynthia Whitty
Left to right in front: Neeharika Chanda, Niles Chen, and the Chrisafideis triplets, Allie (front and center), Bella and Sofia (side profile). Photos/G&B Photography,
Issue Date: 
July, 2019
Article Body: 

Principal Kelley St. Coeur welcomed family, friends, community leaders, scholarship donors, and 184 graduating students to the 2019 Ashland High School (AHS) graduation on June 2.
St. Coeur said, “. . . . Over the course of the past four years you have demonstrated a strength and commitment that inspired me on a daily basis. Your kindness and compassion towards each other and this community as a whole are what I appreciate most about you as a class. As I prepared to welcome everyone here today to recognize your accomplishments, I thought a lot about the challenging experiences that have faced your class. You have dealt with loss, both on personal levels and as a group that no one your age should have to experience.”
Referring to the loss of classmates, St. Coeur talked about how that loss helped . . .“to shape you into the caring and resilient group of young adults you are. It changed your story and helped define the ways you will make your mark on the future. I am confident you will go on to do many great things, like change the story for those fighting cancer and heart disease, and for those struggling with mental health issues.”
The class of 2019 was also known for its service, St. Coeur said. “You all made a difference in the lives of those around you, and your work is appreciated. Through the National Honor Society, many of you joined together to enjoy each other’s company bowling and walking, raising close to $25,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This contribution is amazing and an example of how your story will move forward in the future, you will be helping others.
“I hope you continue to look for opportunities to see the world outside of Ashland and make your mark wherever you are. Your stories are varied but watching you all laugh, dance, and play together on the cruise Friday night showed us you are a family that cares deeply about each other. You have many academic accomplishments to be proud of, but today each but every one of you has reached the same goal, of earning a high school diploma and today you do that together, your last activity at AHS as a group.
“Thank you for being young adults who believe in respect, responsibility, integrity, involvement and achievement. You have shown us so much potential in your short time with us. I cannot wait to see how your stories continue to unfold, and I hope you will keep us posted.”