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Evansville grads ready for college, the workplace and the world

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Monday, June 13, 2016

EVANSVILLE—The graduates were given advice from parents, teachers and the Internet.

They were told to work hard, to speak softly and carry and big stick, to follow their dreams and to make the most of their time.

Sunday, the Evansville Class of 2016 graduated and got ready to move on.

Highlights of the ceremony include:

Good advice: Superintendent Jerry Roth advised students to “Do hard things.”

While this might seem counter-intuitive, hard things that offer challenges to your skills will help you grow as a person, he said.

Roth also encouraged them to reject the negatively in the world and find the good in others.

More good advice: Class officers including Byron Holland, Charla Replogle, Samantha Minor and Brittany Johnson collected life advice from their parents, teachers and the Internet, sifted through it and then offered the best of it to their classmates.

Advice included: “There's no such thing as failure,” only an opportunity for learning; “Go out and see the world,” time is precious, use it wisely and “You don't need magic to change the world.”

Mortarboard funnies: Students decorated their mortarboards with advice, encouragement, announcements and pleas.

Messages included “I did it for my cats,” “Don't cry Mom,” “Adventure Awaits,” and “You can never be overdressed or over-educated.”

Some put their college logos on their mortarboards. The University of Southern California, UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee were displayed.

Some went with poetry. “Do not go gentle …” read one mortarboard. The line is from Dylan Thomas and the rest of the stanza reads, “Do not go gentle into that good night/Old age should burn and rave at the close of the day; rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

The poem is about old age and defying death, but it also can be read as an invitation to live every moment of life.

Others went with humor. One girl's mortarboard read “Next step: Colledge.”

When life gives you lemons, give the principal a pineapple: Every year, the senior class gives the principal an item as they walk across the stage.

Last year, it was cans of cat food. This year, it was lemons. Next to Principal Scott Everson was a basket that read, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Everson collected each lemon calmly.

Senior Jacob Cunningham pulled a pineapple from under his graduation robe, just for a little variation.

One liners: Valedictorian Heather Messling and salutatorian Sydney Michael gave a joint speech.

Messling opened her speech with this classic line: “We could spend time up here reminiscing about high school, but the truth is we all checked out a while ago.”

That said, she went on to reminisce a bit about high school. She described math classes as “50 percent proofs, 50 percent formulas and 50 percent imagination.”

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