Margaretta grads look ahead to next chapter

CASTALIA Samantha Hoelzer is sitting in the front row on the 45 yard line of Margaretta High School'
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010



Samantha Hoelzer is sitting in the front row on the 45 yard line of Margaretta High School's stadium.

Surrounding her are about 98 of her peers. The guys wear green robes, the girls' robes are white.

At the same moment, Hoelzer's entire row stands up.

One by one, their names are called, whereupon they walk into the spotlight to the applause of family members and friends.

At 10:48 a.m., Hoelzer's name is announced over the loudspeakers.

Striding across the field, she shakes hands with school board members and is handed her diploma case.

Feeling the weight of the case in her left hand, Hoelzer said it sunk in that she is no longer a high school student.

"It's officially over with Margaretta -- it's done now," the graduate said. "I wouldn't say I feel like an adult, but I feel I am ready to take the next step now."

The next step is The Ohio State University, where she will study biology and pre-optometry.

One hundred Margaretta seniors officially became graduates on Saturday morning. All but one of the Margaretta High School Class of 2009 attended the ceremony, school officials said.

The significance of the event did not seem lost on anyone.

Graduates reported feeling both odd and exhilarated about talking about high school in the past tense.

And while the epiphany that it's over -- really over -- hit them at different times, the revelation didn't seem to miss a single graduate.

Allie Dixon, who will be attending the Tiffin Academy of Hair Design, was seated in the third row on the field.

Her moment of realization came when she saw her peers step up and accept their diplomas.

"It was a big adrenaline rush to be done, for sure," Dixon said. "It hit me that this is it -- everything is going to change."

Seth Gentner said the finality dawned on him while shaking hands with school board members.

Having looked forward to the moment for 13 years -- since being in kindergarten -- Gentner said it was strangely surreal to finally get there at long last.

For Korey Lyons, it happened about 15 minutes later when the class flipped their tassels and the band started playing "Pomp and Circumstance."

"I was mellow the whole time until then," said Lyons, who is headed to OSU Mansfield campus to study athletic training. "But it feels good."

And Heather Traczek said as she threw her cap into the sky, the stress of high school and preparing for the future miraculously evaporated.

"It's like a big ton of weight is lifted off my shoulders," said Traczek, who is headed to BGSU Firelands.

No matter when it happened, graduates struck by the realization that one chapter of their life is over and a new one is beginning were still trying to make sense of their feelings as they shared hugs and congratulations with peers, family members and friends.

Struggling for words, Levi Bartlett said it's crazy to think this is the last time "this whole class is together as one."

Margaretta Class of 2009

100 graduates

More than $350,000 in scholarships