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Evansville graduates celebrate memories, remember procrastination

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Gina Duwe
Sunday, June 7, 2015

EVANSVILLE—Evansville High School Principal Scott Everson thought this graduating class might have ended the annual prank involving his commencement handshake.

He said he didn't see the graduates carry anything in to Sunday afternoon's ceremony in the gym. But as he shook hands with graduates after they received their diplomas, the prank became apparent.

A pile of cat food tins quickly piled up on the floor before someone offered a chair for the stacks of gourmet feline fare. In the past, Everson has received bouncy balls, puzzle pieces and sticky notes from each graduate.

This year's story?

Everson returned to school in early January from shoulder surgery. Two days later, he came back on crutches, with a bad shoulder, because he tripped over his wife's cat.

“It was a disaster, and they all know I hate cats,” he said of his graduating seniors.

Before the prank, Everson said he sincerely meant that the 137 graduates of the Class of 2015 have made him love his job.


Class officers Gabrielle Sunness, Megan Stencel, Larissa Olin and Alexandra Gober took turns describing the top 15 memories the class had throughout their school years.

Memories started with elementary school gym class, where playing with the parachute and rollerblading were especially fun.

A fourth-grade memory: when classmates became master musicians with their own recorders, Stencel said. 

To prove she could still play the first song they learned, “Hot Cross Buns,” Stencel pulled out a recorder and received a round of applause for her rendition of the three-note standard.

The class' top moment? This moment.

“Our future is no longer waiting; it's now,” Stencel said. “If our past is any reflection of our future, it's going to be bright.”


While the commencement ceremony listed the class motto as, “We've come a long way, but not half as far as we will go,” the unofficial class motto came up frequently Sunday.

Graduate Chase Pinnow thinks it was in sixth grade that his procrastination tendencies led to the unofficial motto: “If it's due tomorrow, better start tonight.”

Pinnow was quick to point out he always got the last-minute projects done, and it was a common theme among his classmates.

“It feels incredible. I'm ready to move on, start something new,” said Pinnow, who will attend UW-Madison and likely study computer science. “New experiences, new things to do, I'm looking forward to it.”

The Class of 2015 was the first to complete a senior project, the district's new graduation requirement.

Graduate Jenna O'Brien recalled junior year, when they first learned about it.

“I thought they were kidding at first,” she said, and some students tried to get by with minimum effort. Others, though, did meaningful projects such as a cancer walk or donated handmade items. She worked with a friend to knit about 10 scarves for the local Care Closet. 

“We made it through,” she said of the projects.


Many graduates, mostly female, likely took to Pinterest and craft stores to adorn their mortarboards with glitter, sequins and other sparkle.

O'Brien wanted to come up with a science pun. She plans to study biomedical engineering at UW-Madison and hopes to create tissue someday.

Her cap included three sparkly cylinders and the words: “Now I'm like this cylinder; we're both graduated.”

Last updated: 4:05 pm Sunday, June 7, 2015

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