London Class of 2014 gives ‘graduation arch’

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(Posted May 22, 2014)

By Amanda Amsel, Staff Writer

London High School’s Class of 2014 is leaving a legacy in the form of a brick and limestone arch.

“We got the idea for this arch from other (schools) and want it to be an incentive for students to graduate,” said Jack Spahn, senior class president, during a presentation before the London school board.

“The idea is that freshmen entering the high school will walk under the arch and then they cannot walk under the arch again until they graduate high school.”

On graduation day, students will walk under the arch after they have graduated.

The arch will be 11 feet tall and stand at the southwest corner of the high school next to the victory bell.

The style of the arch will be similar to the pedestal that supports the bell, a gift from a previous graduating class. A slogan will be engraved at the top of the arch: “Per august ad augusta,” which is Latin for “through difficulties to honors.”

A plaque on the arch will explain its meaning, who donated it and the tradition it represents.

“My only concern is if many students exit that entrance throughout the day,” said school member Dr. Martha Geib.

Senior class advisor Tim Coudret said it is not a commonly used exit, so limiting its use will not be an issue.

“Some of the former senior class gifts have included Kindle Fires for the media center, picnic tables and benches,” Coudret said. “This gift will probably be one of the most longlasting gifts we have received recently.”

Estimated to cost $3,500, the arch will be constructed by a local contractor who is donating his time.

“This gift will start a new tradition for London City Schools,” Coudret said. “It really will build on that journey students take from freshman orientation to the day they get that diploma. It is very exciting.”

The money to construct the arch was raised solely by fundraising by the senior class. Students started fundraising when they were in elementary school and continued all the way through their senior year. The funds in their class account were spent on various activities over the years; the leftover funds are used for the senior gift.

Construction of the arch will start this summer. Organizers hope it will be complete by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.

Other students who are vital to the project’s coordination are senior class vice president Delaney Hill, secretary Natalie Brooks and treasurer Paige Berschet.

“I want to thank the senior class for all their hard work and vision,” Coudret said. “They are starting a tradition that will be carried on long after they are here, and that is something to be proud of.”

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