CINCINNATI, OHIO – Winning football teams are used to a lot of cheering.
But for the second leading tackler of the Mt. Healthy Fighting Owls, cheering has earned Anthony Cornist a penalty he doesn’t think he deserves.
“It’s crazy how somebody can do that to you,” he said from his family’s living room Monday.
When Anthony walked across the stage at his high school graduation, his family made some noise.
“It was my dream to graduate,” he said.
“I’m very proud of my son,” Traci Cornist said.
Apparently, so were a lot of others.
“Teachers, other students and other family members who weren’t with us were also cheering for him also. He’s well known,” Traci said.
The excitement proved too much for the administration.
Instead of a diploma, Anthony got a letter from the principal, Marlon Styles, Jr.
“I will be holding your diploma in the main office,” the letter said, “due to the excessive cheering your guests displayed during the roll call.”
“I did nothing wrong except walk across the stage,” Anthony said.
The school demands 20 hours of community service before he can graduate.
Those hours can be split between Anthony and his family, or the senior can perform them all himself.
“I don’t understand how he’s being punished for something he has no control over,” Traci said. “I just thought that was ludicrous… I have no clue where the logic comes in.”
Calls to the principal, the district superintendent as well as a visit to Mt. Healthy High School have all gone unanswered.
Anthony’s mother says so will the penalty.
“He’s definitely not doing the community service,” she said. “I’m definitely not doing the community service.”
That strategy could spell trouble for Anthony’s game plan.
“I have a college right now that definitely needs my diploma,” he said.