In gyms that ran between warm and hot in more than 100 communities in Wisconsin, Memorial Day weekend unofficially started summer, but officially ended high school careers.
Three area high schools — Belmont Friday, and Iowa–Grant and Potosi Sunday — held commencement ceremonies last weekend.
The first was in Belmont, where salutatorian Brandi Voigts described high school as “like a ride on an old country road.”
In keeping with that theme, Voigts recited Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” saying, “Take that road not traveled by; take a chance and have fun.”
Valedictorian Audrey Wedig listed a number of things learned about life at BHS, saying, “None of these things can be learned from a Googled site. … instead, use what we have learned up to this point in our lives.”
Belmont Class of 1964 graduate Ned Keyes took listeners on a tour of the early 1960s in Belmont, when several country schools sent their students to BHS.
“The boys all took ag; the girls all took home ec … and only boys were allowed in FFA,” he said.
Keyes was a senior when John F. Kennedy was killed Nov. 22, 1963. He also noted the siblings of two of his high school classmates who died in Vietnam.
“Life changes, things change,” he said.
Keyes also told the story of playing center field in a baseball game in Benton, when, in order, on a fly ball to center field, Keyes ran into a cow and the ball bounced off the cow.
“We held him to a triple,” he said. “We couldn’t understand why that wasn’t a ground-rule double.”
Sunday afternoon, which was considerably warmer than Friday night, featured commencement ceremonies at Iowa–Grant and Potosi.
“Before you, ladies and gentlemen, sit leaders of the future,” said Potosi valedictorian Elizabeth Reuter. “Perhaps you’re looking at the developer of a new type of energy or even the person who will find the cure for cancer. What I know for sure is that you’re looking at bright, young individuals who will make this community and world a better place.
“The most important part of living a successful life is setting goals and striving to achieve them. Four years ago, I set a goal to become the valedictorian and worked hard to achieve that goal. Always set the bar high and remember that success is not the position in which you are standing, but rather the direction you are heading.”
“We’ve all been shaped and defined by our surroundings, by the amount of hard work we put into whatever we do, by our involvement in the school and community around us, and by each other,” said salutatorian Grace Friederick. “I’d like to think we all came out pretty well, which is a testament to each and everyone here. …
“So now we have nothing else to do but to look forward to the future … it may be a future with a lot of unknowns right now, but soon we’ll start filling those years up with brand new memories and adventures. And I really believe that all the hard work over the past dozen years will now really mean something as we start a new path with that strong foundation.”
Iowa–Grant’s valedictorian, Chantel Raimer, and salutatorian and class president, Casey Hines-Munson, gave a joint address in which they replaced their class motto — “Who knows where life will take you? The road is long, and in the end the journey is the destination” — with “See you, wouldn’t want to be you.”
Hines-Munson then presented the class gift to the school, a water fountain with bottle-filler nozzle.
High school principal Chris Gotto noted the more than $300,000 in scholarships and awards the class received, which he said “speaks of the family atmosphere that the community and this school district represents.” He also noted the number of compliments he’d received from other school district administrators and sports referees, and said, “I see this group as leaders, and that’s why I received those. … I couldn’t be any more proud of the kids that sit before us.”
Commencement at Platteville High School will be Sunday, June 8 at 1 p.m.