WOODSTOCK – A throng of parents and friends of newly minted Woodstock North High School graduates moved slowly through a tightly packed hallway Saturday night.
And up came a hand, gently patting Bob Zieman on the left shoulder.
“I’m proud of your kids, and I’m proud of you and Patty,” said Jim Block of McHenry to his son-in-law. Zieman looked back and smiled. His oldest children, twins Shane and Brittany Zieman, had just graduated along with 226 of their peers.
Moments earlier, the crowd in the gym had erupted in whistles, hollers and cheers as members of the Class of 2013 moved their tassels from right to left, signifying the successful conclusion to their high school careers.
The class – only the second to spend all four years at North – indeed was successful, Principal Brian McAdow said.
“They had the highest athletic participation, the highest number of activities and the highest number of AP tests taken,” McAdow said. “We absolutely know these things are connected to success.”
More than 65 percent of the class participated in athletics and clubs. And students in the class took a combined 260 advanced placement tests, McAdow said.
“I have No. 4 in the class,” proud mother Laurie Singer of Wonder Lake said before the ceremony started. Her daughter Sarah Singer, 17, achieved a 4.693 grade-point average. Among the AP students, a perfect GPA is 5.0, Laurie Singer said.
This was Singer’s youngest of three children to graduate.
“She’s off to college in the fall, so now I get to adjust to being an empty nester,” Singer said.
Meanwhile, the students must adjust to life beyond high school, class valedictorian Marina Besserud said during her speech.
“We should rejoice in the fact that we no longer have to get up early in the morning to go to high school,” she said.
And while the choices ahead may prove at times to be daunting, they will be entirely theirs, Besserud added.
“We as the Class of 2013 have the potential to go quite far – across the country, maybe even across the world,” she said. “The possibilities are endless.”
Salutatorian Zachery Brokaw also addressed the crowd.
He urged everyone to take a long last look at the class as a group, and he wished everyone well on their future paths.
“The real world doesn’t care whether you’re an artist, an athlete, an academic or an activist,” he said. “Stay true to yourself.”