Milton High grads celebrate with tissue, not tears

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Neil Johnson
Monday, June 9, 2014

MILTON—No banners. No streamers. Instead, Milton High School's senior class squeezed the Charmin to commemorate their graduation this year.

Thursday night, students from the class 2014 nailed the high school with toilet paper, and they loaded the lawn outside Principal Jeremy Bilhorn's school's office with fake pink flamingos.

Then, at the commencement Sunday at Carl F. Anderson football field, students completed their final prank by handing Bilhorn scraps of toilet paper as they crossed the stage to get their diplomas.

One student even tried a Hail Mary pass with a wad of toilet paper after he received his diploma. The tissue fluttered into the crowd of graduates, half unfurled. 

Bilhorn was a good sport about the senior class' two-ply tissue prank, recounting in an address Sunday how he saw one student, Zach Scott, climb a tree at the school to remove toilet paper from it before graduation practice on Friday. 

Bilhorn saw graduate Jessica Laehn, an ardent environmentalist, take notice of Scott's tree cleanup. Laehn had helped plant a number of young maple trees at the school.

“My thoughts turned to, 'Zach, you'd better run,'” Bilhorn said. 

A proud principal

Bilhorn went on in his address to brag up the talents of Milton High students in the class of 2014, including four students who netted their best ever finish at the state forensics meet, and four students who became the school's first Milton fire cadets.

He also lauded students who traveled to France and the jungle of Costa Rica for foreign language classes as well as the class' top athletes, including state medal-winning girls swimmers and students in the Special Olympics.

Bilhorn then asked graduate Ross Lemke, to share his unique talent: a shout Lemke does at Milton High sporting events.

From the crowd of graduates, Lemke let out a warbling screech that sounded like a cross between wild turkey cry and a medieval Scottish war whoop.

Poignant, percolated

A few student speakers touched on disparate themes Sunday. One, Abigail Martin, remembered how her fourth grade yearbook listed her class as the Class of 2014.

She didn't know what that meant at the time. Sunday, she asked the class to shout its graduating year one more time.

Saraina Adam offering mocking gratitude to one of the driving forces in her high school career.

“Thank you, coffee,” she said.

— Brianna Maybee wrapped a poignant message of growth, knowledge and imagination around three words: savoir; pencer; rever. Those are French words that translate to “to know, to think, to dream.”

Unforgettable guy

As they lined up for the procession onto the football field, a Gazette reporter asked students if there was one high school staff member who did or said something they would always remember.

Oddly, all the students interviewed talked about the same person: Milton High School social studies teacher Patrick Jauch.

Graduate Megan Williamson: Jauch seemed to want maximum intensity during class current events contests. To get it, he liked to kick the class garbage can. It made a good, loud ruckus, Wolfe said.

“That kept everybody really excited,” she said.

Kylynn Wolfe said she'd never forget Jauch's daily handshake lessons.

“He showed us how you shake hands with people the right way. You know, the firm handshake. Not a limp noodle,” Wolfe said.

Alexandra Rupnow put Jauch's handshake lesson another way.

“Every day, Mr. Jauch followed all the students out of the class, gave them a handshake and said, 'Have the best day of your life,'” Rupnow said. “That's something that's always going to stick with me.”

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