A celebration of John Exline’s 50th year at Columbus Academy will culminate with the 1964 graduate serving as the school’s Commencement speaker on June 7.

The school’s 2018 Commencement will honor 95 seniors from all over Central Ohio who will matriculate to 60 different colleges and universities in 23 states.

“Our graduating class is comprised of many outstandingly accomplished students but collectively is marked by a profound streak of kindness,” said Melissa Soderberg, Academy’s Head of School. “For example, they collected enough funds to provide a beloved teacher with his bucket-list item – tickets to an Army-Navy football game. Fittingly unselfish for the Class of 2018, the surprise presentation came on a day designed for the seniors to be celebrated.”


Exline, the school’s longest serving teacher and coach, joined Academy’s faculty in 1968 shortly after his graduation from the University of Notre Dame. Since then, he has taught history, economics, PE, public speaking and geography/civics. In addition, Exline has held the positions of athletic director, middle school head, summer program director, SAT prep director/instructor, financial aid administrator and even ground maintenance tech when he cut the school’s grass over two summers in the early ’70s. He has also coached at least one sport in each of his 50 years at Academy including basketball, baseball, football and tennis.

“John’s impact is broad and wide with students, with faculty and with the culture of this place,” remarked Soderberg, who has led Academy since 2013. “Quite a few of his students are the sons and daughters of former pupils, so he is truly shaping our generations!”

For the past five years, Exline has held the honorary position of Rainey S. Taylor History Chair. He and his wife of 41 years, Ann, live in Gahanna. They have four adult children: Adam, Elizabeth, Katherine and Andrew. Both of their sons graduated from Columbus Academy, and Elizabeth has been a teacher in CA’s Lower School since 2011.

Student speakers at Commencement will be senior class president Georgia Tuckerman, who will welcome everyone to the ceremony, and Andrew William Cary Cup recipient Lexis Hughes, who was chosen by classmates and the faculty to deliver the 2018 valedictory address. Also, Tuckerman earned this year’s Hamill Award, which is presented to the senior who has demonstrated positive leadership combined with a high degree of excellence in academics and school activities and has consistently upheld the honor of the school.

Columbus Academy’s Class of 2018 (listed by hometown)

Bexley (10): Victoria Anne Abell, Sarah Hall Belford, Michael Peter Boeckman, Addis Whitner Todd Boyd, Muriel Joy Goldfarb, Margaret Nicole Kelemen, Xiaodong D. Qu, Benjamin Lurie Ross, Georgia Beth Tuckerman, Nicholas T. Watson

Blacklick (9): Kareena Arora, Isabelle M. Bettinger, Keith M. Condray-Raderstorf, Kathryn Marie Jacoby, Jade Summer Juniper, Chase Henry Kallmerten, Emily Ann Munster, Liana Emi Shiroma, Lucas Randolph Tiberi

Columbus (8): Connor James Brown, Briyana Jorde Ameerah Dragin, Khloe Elise Dubenion, Skyla Francine Johnson, Shenique Makella Lewis, Herman L. Moultrie III, Angus Brett Soderberg, Angel V. Watkins

Delaware (3): Anders P. Seline, Apsara Jasmine Som, Randy Yan

Dublin (5): Vincent Noah Allen, Lexis D. Hughes, Bilal S. Mohsin, Jonathan Arthur Ostrowski, Zachary Zeyang Zhou

Gahanna (8): Kelley Marie Antoine, Zachariah Pasco Beck, Max D. Dreisbach, Michalea Gawai Lai, Joshua Ryan Paul Pearson, Jack Chaney Reifeis, Olivia Taylor Ryan, Yujie V. Wang

Galena (3): Cameron Saeed Kharazi, Tessa Lopresti, Taylor Amico McGowan

German Village (1): Avery Leigh Oberfield

Grandview (1): Julia Christine Leet

Granville (2): Sarah Elizabeth Mulvey Morris

Heath (1): Matthew Dayton Saling

Lewis Center (1): Michael Thomas Reagan

New Albany (23): Neena Uma Baliga, Sebastian J. Bergman, Madelyn Rae DeAscentis, Madeline Kennedy Dunlap, Davis Alexander Friedman, David Karibi O. Hart, Abigail J. Jeffers, Justin Kahle, Serra Therese LaPerna, Jane Zhou Li, Ryan Andrew Mitchell, Shreyah Mohanselvan, Ruby McKayla Evelyn Moss, Alexandra Ruth Sabgir, Yasaman N. Salon, Johnathan Edward Schiano, Matthew Edward Schiano, Carly Danielle Shocket, Samuel Vogel, Nicholas S. Walter, Grace Elizabeth Yakam, Harrison Phan Hieu Zaye, Andy  Zhang

Newark (1): Kieran Davis Law

Pataskala (1): Max T. Chavarria

Pickerington (3): Clare Nicole Neltner, Tejas Sinha, Kyra Nicole Zoog

Powell (3): WonJae Lee, Abhinav C. Ramaswamy, Austin M. Zhang

Reynoldsburg (2): Alicia Denise Ann Harmon

Sunbury (1): Esther Elaine Lawrence

Upper Arlington (5): James Johnson Chester, Alexander Chapman Freytag, Lauren Vincenza Fumi, Eleni M. Grant, T.J. Whitman

Westerville (5): Austin David Abraham, Christopher J. Heermann, Alyssa J. Kim, Carson Elliott Nichols, Anna E. Shuff

Worthington (1): Nicholas David Robie