FAIRBORN — A total of 241 students from Fairborn High School will walk across the stage and receive their diplomas at the Wright State University Nutter Center this Friday.
The class of 2021 has earned more than $2 million in scholarships from 25 universities. Fairborn graduates will also be enlisting into the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army, Marine Corps, and Air National Guard.
“We are proud of the class of 2021,” Fairborn High School Principal Brian McKnight said. “They have been a part of an incredible journey and this year is no different. As a class, they have endured challenges and obstacles unlike any other and yet they continued to thrive, learn, and make the best out out what they were handed. They refused to quit and because of that, they continued putting one foot in front of the other until their goals were met. We are so proud of the class of 2021 and we wish them nothing but the best moving forward.”
Valedictorian Mallory Wardle is treasurer of the senior class and student congress. During the course of her career she participated in the Leo Club, Chamber Chorale, and National Honor Society. She has also participated in Fairborn’s spring musicals and choir. She is active in her church and community, and plans to attend Miami University in the fall, majoring in public health.
Fairborn salutatorian Wesley Chivington is on the varsity swim team and has participated in varsity a cappella choir throughout high school. He has already earned an associate’s degree of applied science with honors in psychology in the College Credit Plus program through Sinclair Community College. This summer, Chivington plans to complete his second associate’s degree in the social work program at Sinclair and become a social work assistant. After that, he plans on attending the University of Cincinnati to complete bachelor’s degrees in psychology and social work before pursuing a masters in social work.
Fairborn students experienced the school year in both in-person and virtual settings due to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m highly impressed with this class, that they’ve persevered through COVID this last year and a half. The way they carried themselves through the demands, the way they persevered, it’s a lesson they will carry on in life with them,” Fairborn Superintendent Gene Lolli said. “They’ll be able to get through tough times in the future, and they are to be commended.
“These are our future leaders. Year in and year out, Fairborn continuously produces the finest students in this area, sending students to some of the finest colleges in this country, and those that don’t attend go on to prepare themselves for their career. I think they’re very well prepared.”
Lolli said he is unable to attend the ceremony, but has authorized Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Sue Brackenhoff to address the students in his stead. The role is fitting, as the class of 2021 is the last group of students that Brackenhoff served as principal of Fairborn Intermediate School.
“It’s such a unique privilege to have that perspective, to know that this group of kids that are graduating is my last group of fifth graders,” Brackenhoff said. “To see them at that intermediate age range, and now they’re young adults starting a whole new time in their life filled with opportunity is exciting to see.”
Her message for the graduates is based on the Skyhawk Creed, which intermediate students recited every day under her tutelage (Brackenhoff still knows it by heart). The creed reminds them to live by basic principles of respect and reminds them to look to the future, day by day.
“Sometimes we think life happens around us or to us, but I’m a firm believer that having goals and articulating those goals helps remind us of the things we want to focus on,” she said. “And if we are intentional, and practice those things we can reach whatever goal we aspire to.”
The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m.