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Clinton seniors celebrate graduation

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Sunday, June 7, 2015

CLINTON—They survived schoolwork, middle school crushes, and the sixth grade camping trip.

Now they are ready to go forth.

On Saturday, 80 Clinton High School seniors crossed the stage, making the trip from student to almost-grownup in a few short strides.

Of those 80 students, 16 were members of the National Honor Society and graduated with honors. Another 11 graduated with honors.

You didn't have to search far to find the unique personality of the Clinton High School Class of 2015. It came out before and during the ceremony. Its characteristics include:

Supportive leadership and a sense of fun: Principal Janae Gile first served the class as school counselor. This is her first year as principal.

“They're a very close-knit group of kids, very supportive of each other,” Gile said in an interview before the ceremony. “They supported each other in arts, in sports, in band.”

They also have a sense of humor.

A group of senior boys rode their scooters to school one day. Not scooters as in the mechanized motorbikes, but scooters as foot-propelled, two-wheeled plaything.

The seniors also camped out in front of the school the night before the last day of school.


Just for fun, Gile said.

Some years, student council becomes secondary to other activities. Not with this class.

“They were very active in Key Club and in student council,” Gile said. “The really made sure things got done.

Athletic: So athletic in fact, one member almost didn't make graduation.

Brenden Taylor, one of the school's National Honor Society members, competed at the state track meet in La Crosse on Saturday. He finished third in the shot put.

“His mom has been texting me,” Gile said. “He got off the podium at 4:40 p.m. and was in the car at 4:46 p.m.”

Gile warned him to drive carefully. By just before 7 p.m., Taylor was in Janesville.

Well-traveled: Ciera Ballmer, class salutatorian, talked about the opportunities to expand their lives through traveling together.

“We learned that McDonald's is, in fact, McDonald's, whether you are in Berlin or Wisconsin,” Ballmer said.

Erin Font had an outline of Australia, her home country, on her mortarboard. The exchange student plans to do more traveling in her college years.

Font's favorite part of her year in Clinton?

“Traveling to Disney with the band,” Font said.

Her parents, Craig and Kelly Font, surprised her by attending the graduation.

Funny: Student council president Quinn Marita, valedictorian Julia Kaster and class president Danielle Vance all leavened their speeches with wry humor.

Kaster reminded the class they survived many challenges, including the changes in the federal school lunch program.

During their freshmen year, they had access to “a variety of delicious snacks, including an assortment of ice cream.”

On their return to school the next year, many of those choices had disappeared.

“However, after eating healthier lunches for three years, we are now graduating with hotter bodies than previous classes,” Kaster said. “Thank you, Michelle Obama.”

Vance presented the class gift of two new microwave ovens for the lunchroom. In doing so, she said that to avoid the tragedy of a “fiery death,” the following items should not be placed inside the devices: “Styrofoam, paper bags or other take out containers. In addition, please do not use aluminum foil, silverware or any type of metal. Avoid these types of objects and the microwaves should live a long and happy life. We hope our gift provides evenly heated lunches for years to come.”


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