Written by Marlo Jappen Thursday, 03 July 2014 00:00
The crowd was roaring with cheers and applause as the Island Trees High School Class of 2014 marched across the track for the 58th Annual Commencement ceremony.
On June 27, 210 Island Trees High School seniors received their diplomas, signifying the next step on the road to adulthood.
During the ceremony, Island Trees Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles J. Murphy addressed the graduating class with a quick anecdote about how he was once in their shoes. He recalled how in 1984, one teacher warned him, “don’t even think about being different or I’ll kick you out of the ceremony.”
Murphy encouraged the class to overlook the uniformity of their graduation gowns and embrace their individuality to make their unique mark on the world.
Valedictorian Tiana Grgas delivered a powerful speech entitled “Dare”. She began by referencing Walt Whitman’s poem “O Me! O Life” as she said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
“All of us are here today because we achieved something,” Grgas told her class. “But this is not enough. We all most consider what our next verse may be, and none of us should consider not contributing one.”
Grgas concluded by urging her peers to follow their own special path. “Even if you don’t know who you are or who you want to be, branch out and explore your potential,” she said. “Don’t let anyone force you into living a life you did not choose.”
After collecting their diplomas, the graduates tossed their caps in the air and exited the field ready to take on a new chapter in their lives.