Either we will find a way, or we will make one.
In a ceremony long on tradition with a few moments of serendipity, Community Unit School District 7 awarded diplomas to 68 graduating seniors during commencement exercises on Sunday afternoon in the Gillespie High School gym.
Valedictorian Abbie Cline highlighted the ceremony as she delivered her valedictorian address. “Take a second to remember everything that happened in this high school because this will be the last time we are all here together at once,” Cline opened. “It was a great four years. We are part of one of the best classes to pass through this high school.”
Her address described Cline’s emotions upon saying goodbye to high school and preparing for the future. “We are like a family,” she explained. “Girls sports have been phenomenal, but it isn’t all about sports. We all supported Dallas on his way to becoming number one in physics during the WYSE competition.”
Cline went on to thank her class for making high school enjoyable. “You will always be remembered,” Cline added. “You were the best class. We were always supporting each other, we are sexy and we know it.” Cline offered advice to her classmates. Always set goals for yourself, she noted, and never forget what we had here.
Class members gave Cline a standing ovation at the conclusion of her address. As grins and smiles were popular among the classmates, teachers offered their last congratulations to the students saying “good luck in the future, you were a great class.”
Others thanked the students. “You’ve made my job fun,” Paine said. “I’m grateful for being able to be a part of your lives.”
Speaking to the class, Tiburzi noted that the class is already leaders. “You have survived everything we have thrown at you,” Tiburzi said as he talked about the class moto. “Now you will make a new path.” He said the class already had demonstrated leadership in a number of areas, including academics, fine arts, vocational education and sports.
“Know we are very proud of you and wish the great of success in life,” Tiburzi said. “Your class has survived everything from death of classmates to classmates in car accidents.” Cline‘s co-valedictorians, Richard Mock, Adam Schmidt, and Michael Taylor, offered traditional valedictorian addresses.
“I want to thank everyone that has helped us get here this afternoon,” Mock told his classmates. “I want to thank my classmates, high school would have been boring without you guys. We are awesome.” Mock went on to share that the class needs to move forward and wish them best of luck.
In a speech laced with casual humor, Schmidt acknowledged the end of his and his classmates’ high school career. “It’s hard for me to believe it is truly over,” he said. “It was hard work and we are a great class. High school would not have been as fun without you guys.” The class has always been close, according to Schmidt. Every day was a good day to him. “I honestly say I wish I could come back next year.”
Michael Taylor gave the final farewell and struggled realizing it is finally happening. “Not long ago, I was the young man in the back of the room playing in the band and wishing the ceremony would speed up so I could go home,” he opened. “Here it is now; I wish I was still back there.” Life must go on, he advised, we have a bright future ahead of us.
“We are prepared for the future,” Taylor added. “Our class moto truly describes us.” Taylor asked the class to thank everyone who has led them in the right direction. He offered God’s blessing on his classmates and America in closing.
Board President Mark Hayes presented diplomas as board member Weye Schmidt read the names of graduates. Schmidt stepped forward to present his son, Adam Schmidt with his diploma.
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