Edgerton grads share bond
EDGERTON When Edgerton High School Class of 2012 President Danielle Perry told her classmates during a speech at Sunday's graduation ceremony to put their hand on the person next to them, she was making a joke.
She told them she had just proven that her speech had touched everyone who had gathered for the commencement at the high school's field house.
The crowd laughed, although Perry said afterwards that she was too nervous at the time to hear it.
Without trying, Perry had hit on a metaphor about the essence of school life in a small town such as Edgerton: Everyone touches someone else. Everyone's connected.
Edgerton High School Principal Mark Coombs told The Gazette Sunday that some of the 123 graduating students have literally been in the same classrooms with each other for 13 years. Larger school districts don't have that closeness, he said.
"These kids literally know everyone," Coombs said. "They get so excited for other kids, for each other. To hear them hoot for each other when they received their diplomas, it's nice."
Newly-elected school board member Jon Raymond was one of several school officials to hand out diplomas. He said the experience was an honor.
For one, he got to give his daughter, Danielle Perry, her diploma. Raymond also got to congratulate his daughter's peers—many of whom he has seen grow up. Some he has coached in sports.
"It's special to have had a part in this milestone for the students," he said.
Edgerton teacher David Calkins delivered a speech that, in part, explained what it means to him to live in Edgerton.
When Calkins got out of the military in 1992, he drove all around southern Wisconsin looking for the perfect small town. He chose Edgerton. It's where he and his wife, Edgerton teacher Amy Calkins, have raised their children.
Perry said the most important element of her speech was the part in which she gave thanks to teachers like Calkins and district parents for all they have given to Edgerton students.
Perry and her classmate, Megan Montgomery, were both selected by their classmates to give addresses at the ceremony, and both had been working on their speeches for about two weeks.
Montgomery sprinkled quotes by Voltaire into a speech that wove a metaphor about ladders. Her message: Don't stay on any one rung too long.
Some students have an easier climb on life's ladder than others, and Coombs said he was touched during Sunday's ceremony when two students with special needs received their diplomas.
The graduating class gave them the loudest ovation of all.
"To hear the students roar loudest for them, it's really neat," Coombs said. "It shows how close these students truly are, how much they really do impact each other's lives."