Akron, OH — When Nicholas Ratay submitted 247 words to the JUDGE JUDY Ultimate High School Graduation Essay Contest, he had no idea he'd be selected.
“It was strange," Ratay said. "I thought we were unique enough to stand out and at the same time since it’s a national contest I did it with ‘it probably won’t happen, it was fun to try.'"
A few weeks ago, he found out that because of his glowing review of the city and high school, Judge Judy would be making an appearance.
The best news is that he and his grandmother were already big fans!
“She (grandma) has been excited for my graduation since I was born and this on top of that... her favorite tv star being there," Ratay said. "She couldn't believe it at first."
Judge Judy Sheindlin is scheduled to visit Akron to give the high school commencement address for Barberton High School on Friday at 7 p.m. The graduation will be at the EJ Thomas Performing Hall at The University of Akron located at 189 Hill Street in Akron.
This is the third year the school has done the contest where high school seniors are asked to submit in 250 words or less, how the people, programs or special spirit at their high school make it stand out from the rest.
Read Nicholas Ratay's winning essay below:
"Here in Barberton, Ohio, we have a very special school and community. We are known as the "Magics". Our city was given this nickname by a reporter in 1893 due to a rapid population growth that had occurred since the city's creation in 1891. 125 years later, we still live up to this title. Our school offers something for everyone. It provides paths for students who want to go to college, the military, trade school, or right into the workforce. Basically, any career that a student wants to pursue can be prepared for at Barberton High School. Our school offers duel credit college courses, STEM programs, computer classes, compact programs, music and art classes, and numerous sports and clubs. Our school is extremely supportive of all students. Teachers and students cheered on our football team as they completed a 12-1 season this past year, the best season in our history. As a drum major in our school's marching band, I had the chance to experience this every Friday. Our student section is filled with unbelievable spirit. Rain or sun, hot or cold, the student section and stadium was filled with purple, our school color. On the Friday before 911, the student section proudly waved American flags in support of our great country. Our school has great pride in our students, our city, and our nation. We support each other, and push to be the best we possibly can. Like our school motto says; "Purple Pride is Nationwide!"