CNE seniors start next journey with academic signing ceremony
By Dick Maloney
Evelyn Young returned to campus to say good-bye. Her fellow members of Clermont Northeastern High School’s Class of 2021 were with her, seated in chairs on the gym floor, wearing a variety of colors that represent their future while they celebrated their present and immediate past.
Thirty-seven CNE seniors participated in the school’s academic signing ceremony May 14 – the first such event in two years and another indication that even the unique 2020-2021 school year couldn’t deter the educational journey, or dampen the enthusiasm.
Young is joining the United States Army. She will leave for Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri Aug 2 – “seventy-nine days left,” she said, before the signing ceremony. She will go through six years of training and then return to the Greater Cincinnati area to work in a military police unit.
“I really did it to serve my country and just to get a purpose after school. I want to be a nurse too, so it helps me to achieve my goals,” Young said. She spent her senior year as an online student, learning remotely. Her mother works in the health care industry, so it was best, she said, for her to stay away from school. In some ways, that worked to her advantage.
“I had a lot of free time to do all my school work and get everything done and I graduated early so I could enlist,” Young said. Still, she missed the daily interactions she was able to experience her first three years of high school. “My friends and seeing people every day. I think it was the lack of like looking over, hey, my best friend is sitting next to me, or talking to people,” she said.
Intervention specialist Jill Stegemann organized the event – the fourth one the school has done, dating to 2017. There were, of course, changes. In past years, colleges would send representatives to participate – presenting gifts to the students who had chosen to attend their respective schools. In a few cases, parents or staff members would sit in for the college officials.
“It was different because we couldn’t invite the representatives of the schools, so we contacted them and asked them to send things in, and they were great about that,” Stegemann said. “It was different not having the student body in here, but they’re watching it in their classrooms. It actually went pretty smoothly. We had a lot of help from other staff members here.”
The “swag” included drawstring bags, tote bags, hats and shirts with the school name or logo.
The CNE Education Foundation provided a grant, which was used to buy personalized Tshirts, in CNE blue and gold, for each of the seniors who signed up for the event. Each student also received a bag of candy and a pair of party-style “2021” “glasses” to wear. The school band played an intro as each student was introduced,
Friends and family were able to attend, and a few students also sat in the stands, though the event was streamed live to all classrooms. Counselor Amy Comisar challenged the underclassmen watching to take an active role in their education.
“Strive to be your best and challenge yourself. Explore career and education options for your future, and most importantly ask questions and seek guidance from your families, your teachers, your principals, your counselors and your friends,” Comisar said. “Never stop reaching and learning. You have a lot of life ahead of you, and we are here to help you take the next steps in your life to wherever you want to go.”
CNE has three goals each year for its graduating seniors – continue their education, have a career lined up, or join the military. The academic signing ceremony is modeled after a national initiative, Reach Higher, which sets aside a day at the end of the school year to celebrate seniors who have chosen one of those paths, high school Assistant Principal Scott Houp said.
“Last year we were unable to host this event, so being able to celebrate our students today is really a blessing,” Houp said.
There are 120 seniors in CNE’s Class of 2021. Commencement ceremonies are set for 7 p.m. Friday, May 28, at The Oasis Conference Center in Miami Township.
The list of Clermont Northeastern seniors who signed with colleges May 14:
Abbigail Aicholtz, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash
Jakob Ansteatt, University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Lauren Best, Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Keagan Braun, University of Cincinnati
Macy Brown, University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Samara Centers, Wilmington College
Angela Cox, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga/U.S. Air Force
Hollie Daniel, Miami University
Samantha Davis, Mount St. Joseph University
Parker Donovan, University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Michayla Eifert, Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Justin Elrod, Get Real Program at Clermont County Educational Services Center
Alexis Eyre, Mount St. Joseph University
Alyssa Ferguson, Mount St. Joseph University
Jered Glancy, University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Jaxon Gum, University of Cincinnati
Winnie Jones, Xavier University
Jonathan Keener, Wright State University
Harley Kost, U.S. Navy
Nicole Leonard, Ohio University
Tyler McDonald, University of Cincinnati
Stone McDowell, Miami University
Bella Moorhouse, University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Kylie Mosbacker, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash
Hannah Newton, University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Sarah Padilla, U.S. Marine Corps
Promise Shircliff, Miami University Hamilton
Abigail Silvers, University of Tennessee/U.S. Army
Hailey Stegemann, Tennessee Tech University
Claire Stenger, Ohio State University
Emma Stephan, Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Joseph Stricker, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
Grace Thompson, University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Fletcher VanPelt, University of Cincinnati
Averiall Wallace, University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Landon Williams, Thiel College
Evelyn Young, U.S. Army