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Field High School's eight valedictorians have enjoyed working together and raising the bar for each other.
"We've known each other since kindergarten," Adam Cassetty said of fellow top grad Shelby Noveske. The two will head to Kent State University this fall. Noveske, a competitive dancer and cheerleader, will major in biology and minor in dance. After learning about some recent family history, she wants to become a genetics counselor, she said.
Cassetty will go into the aeronautics flight program to become a pilot. He tested out his flying skills for the first time last summer, he said.
Valedictorian Samuel Moody might be able to help him fly. Moody plans to study aerospace engineering at Purdue University.
There are a total of eight valedictorians at the head of the class. Moody, Cassetty, Rebecca Stayer, Jacob Godfrey, Kayla Kuntzman and Hailee Olson ran cross country together all four years.
"I was not very fast, but I just enjoyed the team atmosphere and it was good to get out and have everybody be there to cheer me on even if I was in the back of the race," said Moody.
Kuntzman and Olson were cross country captains. Kuntzman played the saxophone and was in the color guard. She'll study animal sciences at Ohio State University with hopes of becoming a veterinarian. She developed a love for taking care of animals since she joined 4-H, she said.
"It's really hard to get into," said Kuntzman. "Ohio State has the largest in the country and they only accept 160 people per year. It's harder to get into veterinary school than it is to get into med school."
Olson plans to attend the University of Akron to pursue a degree in supply chain business management. She took charge in several high school projects, including renovating a girls locker room and implementing Little Free Libraries in Brimfield and Suffield.
"In the past years I've done a lot of community service projects and found I excel in leadership positions," she said.
Stayer plans to attend Bowling Green in the fall to major in forensic chemistry. She hopes to work in a Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab.
Emma Tuel will study mathematics education at the College of Wooster. She'll be the first in her family to become a teacher, she said.
Godfrey plans to go through the pre-pharmacy program at Kent State and graduate from Northeast Ohio Medical University with a degree in pharmacy. He shadowed a pharmacist in eighth grade on career day and really liked it, he said. Godfrey played football and baseball.
The valedictorians looked back on their memories at Field over the years from the epic food fight on the last day of eighth grade to when a kid attended winter formal with the flu and got everyone sick and shut down the school.
Through the good and bad, they've stuck together and pushed each other to new limits, Olson said.
"I really like my valedictorian friends," Noveske said. "We've known each other for years. We helped each other stay in this position. We all pushed each other," added Moody.
They chose Disney quotes to write their graduation speeches to that relate to their life in high school and future aspirations.
Tuel chose "The greatest risk any of us will take is to be seen as we are" from "Cinderella."
Kuntzman took the quote, "Life is not a spectator sport. If watchin' is all you're going to do, you're going to watch your life go by without ya'.'" from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."
Stayer chose "It's kind of fun to do the impossible" by Walt Disney. Noveske chose "Thanks for the adventure. Now go have a new one" from the movie "Up" and Moody chose a Buzz Lightyear quote, "To infinity and beyond."