Delavan grads, parents get down at ceremony

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Friday, June 8, 2012
— It probably wasn’t what Principal Mark Schmitt had in mind when he spoke of the art the class of 2012 has brought to the community.

But it sure got hundreds of hot, uncomfortable adults laughing and dancing in Delavan on Thursday night.

Delavan-Darien High School class of 2012 member Abigail Jensen ended her graduation speech by leading her classmates and their family members in singing pop hit “Call Me Maybe,” by singer/songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen.

As in any crowd, some folks looked as if they would rather crawl under their chairs than sing along with a pop single. But most of the audience clapped along and did a good amount of chair dancing. When the audience participation waned a bit, senior Dylan Jeninga jumped up and started dancing.

Jeninga’s antics, along with Jensen’s enthusiasm, kept the crowd laughing and the cameras snapping.

Cause for celebration

As Jensen reminded the crowd, it was likely the last time the classmates and their parents would all be in one room together. It was also the first time they have been able to celebrate as a group the bronze medal their school won last month from U.S. News and World Report. The award was based on the academic achievements of the class of 2012, said Schmitt, who was hired as the school’s principal when the seniors were sophomores.

Other achievements

The class of 2012 has 183 members. Together, they donated 5,387 hours of community service. They took 108 Advanced Placement tests in 12 categories. They earned $984,331 in scholarships for college or technical school. Of that money, $138,000 was from local civic groups or memorial funds.

The class included 17 scholars of the Wisconsin Covenant program, which was founded in 2007 to encourage eighth-graders to pledge to get good grades. Those who signed a contract in eighth grade and met certain standards during high school earned a spot in Wisconsin’s public higher-education system as well as financial aid.

‘You are human’

While the pop sing-along wasn’t art, perhaps, it was a hard act to follow, said senior Meghan Smith, who spoke after Jensen.

Smith talked about a recent awkward moment in her life when she was cleaning her room. She found a book she had borrowed from her seventh-grade history teacher, Kathleen Hanke. She immediately emailed the teacher and apologized profusely for her mistake.

The response was inspirational, Smith said.

“The most important thing you learned is that you are human,” Hanke wrote. “Humans are filled with many good intentions and not enough time. We all have things to remind us we are human. It is what grounds us and keeps us civil with one another.”

Last updated: 8:49 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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