District waives unpaid fees for Pickerington senior in danger of not graduating


PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- A senior at Pickerington Central High School was in jeopardy of not graduating because of unpaid feeds at another school district.

Jeannette Semones, the guardian of Paige Hatton, says Hilliard City Schools waived her $522 in unpaid fees Thursday and her transcripts have been sent to Pickerington Central High School.

The 17-year-old senior says she doesn't like confrontation or being negative.

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"I've just always tried to believe that if I give good to the world, then good comes back to me," Paige told 10TV's Bryant Somerville.

If you knew her story, though, you wouldn't blame her if she was.

"My mom left when I was really young," she said. "Probably 6 months old."

Since then, Paige lived with her dad. Her mother, she says, was more of an off-and-on occurrence in her life. Then, Christmas Eve, last year.

"She was at our house when [her father] called and said he was leaving," Jeannette Semones said. "It was Christmas Eve and he was going into rehab."

Semones and her husband are an acquaintance of Paige's father and agreed to keep her.

At the time, Paige was a student at Hilliard Bradley High School, which was roughly the 10th school in her lifetime.

Semones would drive the 50-mile round trip from Pickerington to Hilliard, every day, twice-a-day, for six months through the end of the school year.

"It put so many miles on my car," Semones said. "That's why we decided to try to make some different circumstances."

To transfer Paige to Pickerington Central High School, the Semones family had to go through the process to get legal guardianship.

"If I didn't have them, I really don't know exactly where I would be now," Paige said.

Paige's dad agreed to the change in guardianship.

That was enough to get Paige into the Pickerington Schools system, but not everything from Hilliard Bradley came with her. Semones says Hilliard City Schools would not send Pickerington Central Paige's transcripts because she had $522 worth of unpaid fees.

"I don't even know if I'm in the right classes right now, or if I'm taking what I need to take if my testing is right with what they're telling me I need to do," Paige said.

The fees, according to Semones, are for an iPad that was stolen from Paige a couple years ago, and for a handful of class fees. Semones says the fees were while Paige was still with her dad.

"I'm pretty well strapped," she said. "We put a lot of money in getting [Paige] clothed and fed and court papers filed and I've paid all of her fees at Pickerington now that are due that I feel like are under my watch."

Semones, 17-year-old Paige, doesn't like confrontation or being negative. She only hopes Hilliard City Schools feels the same way.

"I'd like to see them have a little compassion and give her a fair start in life that she really deserves," Semones said.

Prior to Thursday update that the fees were waived by the district, several members of the central Ohio community contacted Bryant Somerville and 10TV offering to anonymously pay them for Paige.