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Beloit Turner High School Class of 2017 reminded to follow passions, never settle

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Xavier Ward
Monday, June 5, 2017

TOWN OF BELOIT—The synchronized roar of the Beloit Turner High School band nearly drowned out the applause of attendees at Sunday's graduation.

Superintendent Dennis McCarthy told The Gazette this year's class was Turner's largest to date at 118 graduates.

The program for Sunday's commencement included the class motto for this year's graduates: “Be thankful for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want tomorrow.” Most of the speeches contained a similar sentiment.

Chronicling the years

At first, valedictorian Jinan Sous said she couldn't figure out what to write for her speech.

Instead of writing a speech, she decided to read entries she made to her personal journal to confer a message to her peers.

Sous recalled the her first day of high school, saying she didn't know what to think and that she was hopeful the upperclassmen wouldn't be mean to her and the other first-year students. In recalling her second day, she realized high school wasn't as intimidating as she had expected it to be.

Sous then listed off a number of entries about school dances, the overwhelming weight of college applications and besting other grades during homecoming spirit competitions.

Her most recent journal entry was dated the day of the graduation, and it was a direct address to the class.

“The memories we made together will last a lifetime,” she said, reminding her classmates one more time to be proud of who they are.

'Processing' memories

One of Sous' journal memories was about the time a classmate, Kiel Hobon, wrote a rap song for a biology project about photosynthesis. Hobon promptly stood up and began belting the lyrics of his original rap, followed swiftly by audience applause and cheers.

After the ceremony, Hobon told The Gazette he made the rap because there are so many words that rhyme with photosynthesis that it seemed like the natural thing to do.

“It's actually followed me ever since,” he said, noting the rap is something he is thankful for.

The video is still available on YouTube. Search “The Photosynthesis Rap” and you're sure to find it, Hobon said.

Fresh beginnings

Caitlin Bowen didn't have a totally typical high school experience, she said.

While many of the kids at Beloit Turner had been together since kindergarten, she moved to the district from Hershey, Pennsylvania, a year ago when her father's promotion moved him to ABC Supply's headquarters in Beloit.

Though she's not a Beloit native, Bowen said the people at Turner made her feel as if she had been there her entire life.

Bowen won't be far from her new home after graduation, as she's planning on studying education at UW-Whitewater.

Time moving quickly and slowly, all at the same time

The homework and grueling hours spent studying for finals often made high school move along unbearably slow, but the good times made it go by in a flash, said salutatorian Meghan McCarthy.

"Most of all, (it's) short because we're already at the end,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy's father, Dennis, is district superintendent. After the ceremony, he joked that she didn't accomplish all of her goals in school as she wanted to finish third in her class so she wouldn't have to give a speech at graduation.

Never settling

Before diplomas were issued, Principal Ryan Bertelsen addressed the crowd by remembering his own high school graduation.

Bertelsen said he remembered going to UW-Whitewater and being intimidated by the number of people who wanted to major in education, knowing not everyone would be accepted.

He reminded graduates to thank those in their support systems and to never settle.

"If it wasn't for my friends and family, I probably would have settled for something less than my passion," Bertelsen said.



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