Scotus Central Catholic senior class president Nathan Schumacher had been planning for his moment since he was first elected to the position in the fall.
Knowing that he was to offer the senior welcome at the beginning of Sunday's Class of 2019 graduation ceremony, he wanted to get it right.
"It was easy and hard at the same time," he said of the planning. "I tried to write things down when I thought about it, but it was pretty difficult to put it all together."
What Schumacher settled on took up about a page-and-a-half and lasted roughly five minutes. Rather than bring up any specific memories or moments or focus on how his group has changed and evolved, Schumacher had a simple message: Enjoy these final moments together.
Whereas the 59 of them all came together in 2013 as seventh graders on one shared journey to graduation day, they were now about to embark on 59 separate journeys.
"I just wanted to say, it’s our last time together, and we should make the most of it," he said. "It should be a pretty good day today."
The ceremony recognizing the Shamrocks' latest graduating class took place Sunday afternoon in the Dowd Activity Center. Following Schumacher's welcome were such traditions as a scripture reading, homily from the school pastor, performance by the Shamrock Singers, and of course, the handing out of diplomas.
Elliott Thomazin, crowned "Mr. Shamrock" back in March during the school's annual competition, read from the gospel of John, as chosen by Father Capadano.
"It doesn’t really feel real," Thomazin said. "It’s kind of like, ‘OK, I’ve got my graduation stuff on, I’m going to walk and then Monday morning will come around and I’m going to be in physics class and things will be back to normal.’ But they won’t be. It’s just surreal describing it to everybody who asks."
Capadano told the audience he chose John Chapter 14 after it was part of recent daily readings. While reciting it at mass, the face of the seniors popped into his head.
"How are we supposed to know where we're going?" he asked. "The apostles had the same question."
As the Class of 2019 prepared to move on to the next stage in life, Capadano said the answers the apostles found were the same ones that would guide the future: Faith, family and your relationship with Jesus.
Capadano then urged the graduates to let their parents share their emotions of their babies leaving the house, let them cry, let them miss you. He closed by congratulating the Class of 2016, realized his error, then congratulated the Class of 2018.
Keeping it together and not letting the tears out, he admitted, it was a struggle. He returned to the mic after a few seconds, said he couldn't end on that and congratulated the Class of 2019, with a brief pause before the year, saying it was a joke that time.
Capadano received the Outstanding Service Award later in the ceremony. It was his final official duties for SCC and final Scotus graduating class. He has been reassigned to a new position by the archdiocese.
"It’s a real privilege to be in a position to see kids come in as six graders, to be here for six years, you watch the growth, the maturity … this has been an outstanding class," Scotus President Jeff Ohnoutka said before the ceremony. "This group has excelled at about everything they’ve done, and they’ve excelled at life, too. They’ve dealt with some hardships, some adversity, and they’ve rallied around each other."
Schumacher will be attending Creighton to major in business and pre-law. He's not quite sure exactly where there that will lead him, but is excited to find out. He said he'll always think back to physics and astronomy teacher Tom Salyard who helped him learn in physics and in growing closer to God.
Thomazin will be studying at Notre Dame in the areas of economics and philosophy hoping to one day be a "professional smart person," he joked. He too isn't quite set on a future career but says he also has a lot of options.
Thomazin will always think back to his cross country coach and Scotus Athletic Director Merlin Lahm, who has been coaching Thomazin since seventh grade and has "never been afraid to expect big things out of people."
Callan Fuchser mentioned government psychology and sociology teacher Pat Brockhaus as the teacher she'll probably remember most.
"It’s so raw and so real," she said of the emotions after receiving her diploma. "I think it’s a day we thought would never come, and now that it’s here, we’re all just living in the emotion and really cherishing it.
Fuchser said Brockhaus always made going to class fun with something new every day. She'll start her college career at Central Community College - Columbus, majoring in criminal justice.
Fuchser has been a fan of NCIS and similar shows since childhood, filling her DVR full of options and her future with a possible career.
It's been a constant source of joking from her dad, who she said always kind of made fun of her for how much she loved NCIS.
"But I think he always knew that’s what I wanted to do," she said.
The Class of 2019 chose the white rose as it's a class flower, kelly green and silver as class colors, the song "Old Friends" by Ben Rector as the class song and the motto: "Why let the world change you when you can change the world."
"It’s bittersweet. I didn’t think it would come, but it comes a lot quicker than you think," Fuchser said. "I remember walking in these doors just like yesterday as a seventh grader, and now it’s here."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.