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Brodhead High School graduates a 'one of a kind' Class of 2016

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Andrea Anderson
Sunday, June 5, 2016

BRODHEAD—Amber Pickel wants her fellow Brodhead High School graduates to build upon the memories they've made together.

In her speech, the salutatorian told members of the Class of 2016 to make the most of their lives and remember the tight-knit group of people that helped make them who they are.

“Our class has always been stuck together, and we've just been a unique grade, and even though this is our last day here, we have so much more left in our future,” Pickel said. “This is just a small chapter in our life. We will make memories, go on adventures, have fun. There's so much left in life.”

Pickel will be studying physical therapy at Carroll University in Waukesha. She said some of her best moments in high school have been making it to state in sports.

“It's been a journey,” she said. “… I'm really happy I've had this particular class because we are really one of a kind. I've made life-long memories with them.”

On Sunday, 83 seniors walked through the high school gym's door for the last time before throwing their caps into the air and embarking on their next journey.


Nicholas Ciabatti and Brendan Olson arrived at the high school at 12:30 p.m., an hour before the graduates were told to arrive. Why?

Because Ciabatti's mother wanted to get a good seat, Ciabatti said.

Olson and Ciabatti have been friends since Ciabatti moved to Brodhead from Beloit in elementary school.

The two are best buds and are a part of the Brodhead EMS crew.

Ciabatti plans to go to Blackhawk Technical College for more EMS training and then another school to become a nurse.

Olson wants to attend a technical college for a degree in fire science and possibly become a paramedic.

Each suggested that incoming freshmen take school seriously, do their homework and study.

Olson said he realized at the end of junior year that “if I wanted to be anything in life,” he had to do his schoolwork and take it more seriously.


Jazmin Sanders and Cierra Pryce have been friends for years, and the two are going to have a lot more time together once they both head to UW-La Crosse to study psychology in August.

The two, who wore what appeared to be matching silver wedges as they walked side-by-side to their seats, are looking forward to moving on to a bigger school. Still, they are happy to know they will always have Brodhead to call home.

“It's a really close, small community,” Pryce said. “If something were to happen, the whole community will be behind you.”

High school was “bittersweet,” Sanders said, because there were good and bad times.

In the end, Sanders said, high school students should get involved in as many activities as they can.

“It goes by so fast,” Sanders said.


While graduates rehearsed "The Star-Spangled Banner” in a music room or congregated in the high school entryway, Chris Dodd and Clayton Clark stood away from the crowd to put on their gowns and wait for the 2 p.m. graduation ceremony to start.

The two finished high school in January, they said, and have been working ever since. On Sunday, a ceremony and barbecue were scheduled to celebrate their success.

While high school was “fun,” the two said, their eyes are on the future.

Dodd will attend UW-Whitewater for its pre-dental program in the fall.

Clark will be hearing from the Marine Corps in June of 2017 to see if he has been admitted. After that, he's looking forward to serving his country, owning his own home and paying for his own things.

“Working hard does pay off,” he said.

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