WNHS graduation: 'The first class to go the distance'
Katie Wright looked out at her classmates during the Woodstock North High School graduation May 19, telling them to seize the day and refuse to be passive.
“I urge you to be fearless, my friends,” she said, “because this era is ours.”
Wright’s speech built on that premise, her words being almost solely directed to the Class of 2012 despite the hundreds of parents and staff in attendance.
“Bittersweet is the first word that comes to mind,” Wright said, later following up on the statement. “In 12 long years, we’ve earned the bittersweetness of tonight.”
Wright noted the comfortable familiarity of WNHS would be gone forever, but she told the class to remain confident in future pursuits.
“The whole world is in front of us,” she said. “We have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.”
The Class of 2012 is only the second WNHS graduating class, but it is the first to attend all four years at the school. When WNHS opened in 2008, only freshmen and sophomores attended. From that freshman class, 210 graduated Saturday night.
“We were the first class to go the distance,” said Heather Sitkie, senior class representative. “We are a class full of leaders. We have taken ownership of this school.”
Sitkie said the first couple of years at WNHS involved some growing pains, with athletic teams suffering many losses and organizations and clubs struggling to find identity. With hard work, success eventually would follow and a true appreciation of Thunder pride emerged.
As the students began to line up for graduation, Principal Brianspoke to the class, telling them to bask in their accomplishments and do so in a respectable manner.
“This night is all about you,” he told the class just before they walked into the gym to “Pomp and Circumstance.” “Everyone is here to see you.”
Before handing out diplomas, McAdow said he had a discussion with a parent in the hallway about how quickly the four years had passed.
“I said, ‘It seems that just yesterday we were in WHS [explaining] exactly what the color teal is,” he joked. “You grabbed [the challenge of opening a new school] and you accomplished them in every way. Congratulations, it has been an honor to be your principal.”
In addition to the speeches, the “Star Spangled Banner” was sung by senior Collin Morris. The WNHS varsity choir performed “We Are Young,” a song written by the band Fun. During a portion of the song, the entire graduating class sung the words.