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SPECIAL SECTION

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Whitewater High School graduating class makes a point

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Frank Schultz
Sunday, June 4, 2017

WHITEWATER—Famous quotes are a graduation tradition, so it was no surprise to hear one in a speech by Whitewater High School co-valedictorian Tyler Niemuth on Sunday.

Niemuth, a baseball player, brought up Vince Lombardi's words about winning being the only thing.

But Niemuth said members of his class were winners during homecoming when they chose to lose the annual lip-synch competition.

The contest pits groups of students from each class in lip-synching/dancing performances. The winner is judged to be the most entertaining.

The Class of 2017 had lost a classmate the previous year when his father took a job in another town. They invited him to perform with them, even though he was no longer a member of the class.

They knew they'd be disqualified.

“We chose friendship over competition, and that's a win in itself,” Niemuth said.

“Once a Whippet, always a Whippet," added salutatorian Milena Maroske.

LUNCH LADIES LAUDED

The class paid homage this year to an oft-overlooked part of high school: The people who make their food every day.

Grads erected a wooden board with a message of thanks to the lunch ladies, signed by most members of the class.

It was an example of this class' special character, Maroske said.

PUZZLER

The staff speaker was De Anda Levine, the student services administrative assistant who has worked at the high school the past 10 years.

She was always smiling, always kind, and she did much for students, said graduate Rachel Stone in her introduction.

Levine compared the graduates' 13 years of education to the completing of a jigsaw puzzle.

As the graduates descended the podium, diplomas in hand, Levine was standing there, handing out a puzzle piece to each of them, “because today you get to start your lifelong puzzle, your masterpiece,” she said. “.. It is time to let the world know how amazing you all are.”

FRIENDS FOREVER

Logan Rasmussen and Luke Bultman held hands as they processed to their seats as the ceremony began. Theyalso  held hands as they marched out.

They had arranged to be paired for the procession.

“We're best friends since kindergarten,” Rasmussen said.

STAY SAFE & FOCUS

Lots of speakers gave advice at the ceremony. Levine's was the most concise and possibly the most useful: Always wear your seat belt, don't text and drive, and never lose sight of what makes you happy.”

SPECIAL-NESS

Graduate Maria Perez will attend UW-Milwaukee, the first step on the long journey to becoming a forensic pathologist. She's ready for dead bodies, she said. And she has seen severed limbs that were brought in for a class, and she has dissected a cat, she said.

The Class of 2017 is special, Perez said.

“I feel everyone's comfortable with everyone,” she explained.

A friend of Perez's who declined to give her name added: “We kind of know when to have fun rather than goofing around all the time.”



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