Prior to Milton High School’s graduation ceremonies Sunday, senior Nina Yeung asked other members of the school’s Class of 2019 the age-old question: “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
The most common answers to her inquiry were, “To get to the other side,” or, “I don’t care,” she said.
But Yeung has mused on this timeless question. Did the chicken know the difference between the two sides of the street? Did the chicken know crossing the road would lead to a better future?
Yeung rejects the answer is as simple as, “To get to the other side.” An alternate reason? It wanted to, and it made its own decision to cross.
“Fellow graduates, we are the chickens,” Yeung said. “Right now, we are making our own decisions to cross the road.”
The experiences garnered and decisions made while crossing the road will define the graduates, she said. And even if they do not know what awaits on the other side, the graduates will have the ability to choose which roads they will cross.
“So I urge you all: Go out and cross that road. Even if there may be a few cars, some pedestrians or even a moped in your way,” she said.
Yeung was one of a handful of speakers at Sunday’s ceremony at the high school football stadium. Other speakers included class President Anna Quade, senior Marilla Smith and Principal J. Jeremiah Bilhorn.
For at least the second time this year, a speaker left local graduates with a quote from Michael Scott from “The Office:” “May your hats fly as high as your dreams,” Quade said.
Quade said the Class of 2019 is different from others.
“Uniquely, we were the only class to experience all three of the referendums,” Quade said. “With our third referendum passing recently, we will be the last class to create memories in certain parts of our high school.”
The Milton School District will be a different place in a few years, Quade said. It will be much like the graduates: remodeled, revived and added onto.
Quade also touted the Class of 2019’s long list of accomplishments:
- The Esports team placed second at state this year.
- Members of the forensics team advanced to state.
- A senior FFA student, Brandon Zabel, advanced to nationals.
Students also made their marks globally, Quade said.
Freshman year, students traveled to Costa Rica with the Milton Science Club. Some trekked to the Galapagos Islands. The French Club traveled to France last summer, and the Spanish Department will visit Spain this summer, Quade said.
The class’ prank this year included placing for sale signs at the high school, Bilhorn said. One sign listed the asking price at $20.19.
Students also tried to sell Bilhorn’s truck with a sign that read, “Pickup truck: Will let go for cheap.” That garnered a smattering of cheers from the graduates.
Bilhorn said graduation is a launch into a new chapter. It’s much like the first steps on the moon, he said, which occurred nearly 50 years ago on July 20, 1969.
Landing someone on the moon was not accomplished overnight, he said. Instead, it was the collective effort of thousands of men and women who worked tirelessly behind the scenes for many years.
Bilhorn pointed to Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to exceed the speed of sound, and Katherine Johnson, an African American mathematician whose calculations were critical to manned space exploration.
“Life will not always be easy. You will face challenges,” Bilhorn said. “But just like Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier and Katherine Johnson broke racial and gender barriers, you too can push beyond the obstacles in your life.”