Beloit Turner students play one last show before graduation
TOWN OF BELOIT Before she could graduate, Beloit Turner High School senior Ashley Moore had one last show to play.
So after hearing from valedictorian Jeffrey Pickett, but before receiving their diplomas, Moore and the rest of the Turner band’s graduating members got up from their seats at the front of the packed gym and walked over to join their bandmates.
Amid the excitement of their graduation day, Turner seniors dressed in blue caps and gowns played The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.”
“I almost couldn’t even play,” Moore said after the ceremony, walking her flute back to the band room.
Ninety-three students graduated from Turner on Sunday afternoon, walking down the halfcourt line of the gym’s basketball court to receive their diplomas and yellow lilies.
At the other end of the gym, parents and friends filled rows of chairs and most of the wooden bleachers. Fans of the grads crouched in a center aisle with cameras to capture their walk as the names were read.
Speeches at the ceremony included inside jokes and praise for teachers and thanks to parents, as salutatorian Zhiheng “Peter” Zhou said, “for kicking us out of bed every morning.”
Principal Ryan Bertelsen encouraged the graduates who filled the first four rows of chairs with the class motto from Robert Frost that, through everything, life “goes on.”
“Be flexible, work diligently and pursue it with passion,” Bertelsen told them.
For the band’s handful of senior members, it was also an opportunity to celebrate the end of their high school careers with some of the musicians they shared the journey with.
Moore, who is headed to UW-Platteville in the fall, spent the past three years watching graduation as a musician and said she had been involved in band since middle school.
She admitted to making a couple of mistakes in the excitement of playing with her friends for the last time.
Walking through the crowded Turner hallway after getting his diploma, trombonist Brandon Noack said playing at graduation “tops off” his experience in the band.
It was a “great way to end,” Noack said.