Brodhead grads issued challenge: Make an impact

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Gina Duwe
Monday, June 3, 2013

— A rainbow of silly string filled the Brodhead High School gymnasium above the rows of red- and white-gowned graduates who celebrated the end of their secondary education Sunday afternoon.

The 79 graduates enter the world with a number of achievements in the books for the school district that borders the Rock-Green county line, but how big of an impact they have in the future is up them, speakers told the class.

“We can all make an impact,” Michaella Fleming told her peers during her valedictorian address.

She challenged them to make that difference by caring for others, caring about the quality of their work and by following the callings in their lives.

“Do it now,” she said, because people don't have to wait to make an impact on others.

Principal Leonard Lueck, who takes over next month as the district's superintendent with the retirement of Chuck Deery, gave the address to graduates. He noted several of the Class of 2013's achievements, including:

n 80 percent will continue their education

n Through their required senior projects, the students raised more than $30,000 for area organizations—the most ever.

n The combined grade-point average was above 3.0, which was “pretty phenomenal,” he said.

n The class earned more than $587,000 in scholarships awarded to 64 students, the most in Lueck's eight years at Brodhead.

n Members of the class earned many athletic titles and awards, including the graduating girls basketball players, who won 76 games to set a school record, and the football players, who helped this year's team qualify for the playoffs for the 21st year in a row.

While Lueck and many others think the rows of graduates are special, he said, the same sentiment is expressed about the graduates entering the world after similar ceremonies at 37,000 other high schools across the country.

What will the members of the class of 2013 do to make themselves special outside of Brodhead High School? he asked them. Find what makes you special and what you need to be successful, he said.

He used quotes from the movie “Dead Poets Society” and likened high school to life's dress rehearsal.

“This is it,” he said, before graduates received their diplomas from Deery and school board members Teresa Earleywine and Mike Krupke.

Salutatorian Clarissa Rueckert talked about how her peers measured time through the years—from naptime in kindergarten to staring at the clock waiting for class to end in high school.

How will you spend your time? she asked her classmates. Her only guarantee was that “you can't stop time.”

So be excited about all you can be, she said, and make life worth it. It's not about a competition with others, but with yourself, she said. She ended her message with REO Speedwagon's words: “Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for me to fly.”

Last updated: 7:57 am Monday, July 29, 2013

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