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Whitewater High School graduates 124

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Andrea Anderson
June 8, 2014

WHITEWATER—Don't over think the appetizers — the simple choices.

Put a lot of thought into the entree — the direction in life. And always have a back-up plan in case the main dish is sold out.

As for the dessert — enjoy it. Sweets are the consequences of the good decisions.

That is De Anda Levine's Menu of Life and words of wisdom that she shared with the 124 Whitewater High School graduates Sunday afternoon.

“I want each of you to find your way to the choices you make to find the happiness you deserve – genuine happiness,” Levine, the high school secretary, said. “I want you to realize you are in charge of your future and your happiness. I want you to think about the choices you make from this day forward.”

Alexandria Cady piggybacked on Levine's speech in her valedictory address.

Cady told her classmates it's OK not to know what's next and make mistakes and to repeatedly change your mind.

“Four years ago we didn't know what life had in store for us,” Cady said. “The choices we have made have brought us here today and our life is full of choices ahead… As you leave this gym today and come across life choices, remember you're capable of changing the world.”

Transformation:

Twenty minutes before Kayla Wilson walked into the gym to graduate, she laughed about tripping up the stairs on her first day of high school.

“Up the stairs, not down the stairs on my first day of high school,” Wilson said shaking her head and laughing.

Since that first day, Wilson said she has grown and learned.

“You really figure out who your friends are and who will stick by you,” Wilson, who will attend UW-Oshkosh to study nursing, said.

'Bitter sweet'

Erica Chairez is sad and excited to leave high school.

“It's really bittersweet because of all the memories,” Chairez said. “It's exciting at the same time because it's a new chapter in life.”

As a senior, Chairez helped freshman transition into high school.

“Freshman year was scary,” Chairez said. “You don't know what to expect and to see that look on their faces, you just want to help them.”

Chairez will attend Madison Area Technical College in the fall. 

Playing dress up

Renée Reid is excited to start the next chapter at UW-River Falls, but says graduating high school doesn't seem real.

“I don't feel like this is actually happening, that it's the end,” Reid said. “It kind of feels like we're playing dress up, like it's not actually happening today.”

Let me take a selfie:

Before Caleb Hintz addressed his fellow graduates, the salutatorian paused at the podium in the gym. He turned his back to the crowd, grabbed his phone and squeezed his red cap, as much of the graduating class and their family into the picture frame.

“Happy graduation! But first, let me take a selfie,” Hintz said referencing a recent pop song.

His classmates hooted and hollered at their comedian of a classmate.

“Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, because the world needs people who are alive,” Hintz later told his classmates.



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