By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
FULTON, Ill. —
A total of 66 students graduated from Fulton High School during Sunday's commencement ceremony.
"I'm not trying to make anyone cry or anything, but if you think about it, it's over. High school is over," student speaker Isabelle Eissens said during the 72nd graduation, held at 2 p.m. in the high school gymnasium.
Eissens remembered the happy moments with her graduating class. She and her fellow speakers, Kyle Wiebenga and David Stage, encouraged students to move forward after graduation, while remembering the good times. The three students expounded on the class motto, "Our lives are before us. Our pasts are behind us. But our memories are forever with us."
Wiebenga noted that while some of the graduates know exactly what they want to do after high school, others "don't have a clue." Either way, he encouraged them to be prepared for difficulties.
"The best things in life never come easy," Wiebenga said. He pointed out that Stage and Emily Knight did not become valedictorians for 2013 by taking the easy way.
The 2013 salutatorian was Kylie Kennedy. This year's Illinois State Scholars are Kennedy, Emily Knight, Amy Knight, Rachel McDonnell, Morgan Snyder, Stage and Wiebenga.
Wiebenga told his classmates that they need to push themselves beyond what people expect from them and do things that are too big to accomplish alone. He also instructed them to challenge the social norms and stand up for what they believe in.
"Even though the world might not want to hear what you have to say, say it because you know it to be the truth," Wiebenga said.
Stage added that while the past shapes what a person is, he told his fellow graduates that they need to move beyond their past successes. He added that while they might be special in Fulton as they move forward, they might not be considered special anymore.
"We should all reach for a stronger future as we remember our past," Stage said.
River Bend Board of Education President Dan Portz said before the ceremony that he hoped the graduates had fun during their time in the district. Portz handed out diplomas along with Eric Fish and Nick Crosthwaite, also from the board.
"Wish them well in their future endeavors, wherever that may take them," Portz said.