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Janesville Craig's Class of 2015 headed for blue skies

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Jake Magee
Friday, June 12, 2015

JANESVILLE—Stormy weather disappointed members of Craig High School's Class of 2015 on Thursday, forcing them into the cramped school gymnasium for graduation rather than the open expanse of Monterey Stadium.

But rain or shine, seniors felt happy their big day had finally arrived.

“It's kind of a damper—literally and figuratively—but we're still graduating, so I can't really complain,” Lucas Gunn said.

Gunn plans to take a year off and then study psychology out of state.

Jose Amador said his father couldn't attend his graduation because each student was given only six tickets. He celebrated his accomplishment at Texas Roadhouse to make up for it.

“I was hoping to be outside,” said senior Dylan Ristow, agreeing with his peers' disappointment. “Either way, I'm graduating.”


Two Emilys delivered the commencement speech.

Emily Saliby compared high school to a chapter in the novel of each senior's life.

“The I's are being dotted and the T's are being crossed in the most important chapter to date,” she said. “Tomorrow, as graduates, we'll turn a page and write another first word.”

Sometimes life moved too fast to enjoy the adjectives and verbs that warrant smiles and laughs. Friends turned into characters with permanent places in each graduate's book. Bad days could turn into roller-coaster plots, for better or worse.

“As we turn the page from students to alumni … may your book be a best-seller with adventures to tell, lessons to learn and tales of good deeds to remember,” Saliby said.

Emily Meister started her address by getting all the clichés out of the way. She promised not to give the definition of “graduation,” advise seniors to follow their dreams or say “today is the first day of the rest of our lives.”

Instead, she said the Class of 2015 might be at the bottom of social ladder now, but it will climb high and leave its mark, proclaiming “we are here” the whole way.

Her advice to achieve that goal:

—Make a new friend everywhere you go.

—Be creative in everything you do.

—Share everything, including your thoughts, ideas, belongings, talents and passions.

—Work together.

“World change is something that can be done on a small scale in a variety of ways by anyone,” Meister said.


Craig High School alumnus Matthew Hollingsworth took to the podium to speak about love and loss.

The greatest advice Hollingsworth received came from a professor who told him, “Never say no. Figure it out and go.”

He has lived that philosophy ever since, taking chances and risks to become a music composer who has written songs for film, television and commercials.

“Be careful with your life, and take yourself seriously,” he advised.

But at the same time, don't spend time wondering what could have been because you didn't take a risk. Taking advantage of opportunities got Hollingsworth where he is today, he said.

“Take chances. Say 'yes' to good opportunities, and work hard to achieve your goals,” he said. “Don't waste time. Be yourself.”

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