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Cary-Grove graduating seniors look ahead to new challenges

Published: Saturday, May 25, 2013 6:41 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, May 25, 2013 10:58 p.m. CDT
(Kyle Grillot –
Micheal Danczyk is handed his diploma during the Cary-Grove High School commencement Saturday at Al Bohrer Athletic Field.

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CARY – Nearly 470 Trojans marched upon Al Bohrer Field on Saturday morning. They came to say farewell to their Troy, Cary-Grove High School, which they have called home and defended through athletic titles, academic club wins and community service performance over the past four years.

Students and faculty also said goodbye to Rhonda Quick of the English department, who retires after 41 years of teaching, 35 of which were at Cary-Grove.

Parents, faculty and classmates took time to relish the achievements of the 2013 graduating class of nearly 480 students. The class boasts two National Merit Scholarship finalists, seven National Merit Scholarship Commended students, 96 Illinois State Scholars, 81 students with a GPA of 4.0 or higher, and countless athletic and scholastic competition wins. 

Members of the class of 2013 have certainly left their mark, along with some pretty big shoes to fill for the incoming seniors.

Class Salutatorian Hannah Phillips is off to Michigan State University in the fall to pursue a degree in neuroscience. She admits that though she dominated her academic challenges at Cary-Grove, there may be bigger challenges ahead that don’t come with a full faculty prepared to assist you.

“I’m 18 years old, and I don’t even know how to do my own laundry,” Phillips said.

Joking aside, Phillips offered advice to her fellow graduates for the challenges they will soon meet.

“We are now faced with our biggest challenge – moving on,” Phillips said. “Remember your past as you move into your future, but remember no one cares who you were in high school. Start fresh, and be ready to face freshman year all over again.”

A charismatic Ryan DiCicco, whom Principal Jay Sergeant warmly introduced as “Cheeks,” took the stage as Cary-Grove’s 2013 class valedictorian. The Cary resident and aspiring chemical engineer is off to the University of Notre Dame in the fall. After a few jokes and charming his way through some technical difficulties with the microphone, DiCicco asked those present to live in the moment.

“We often forget what’s happening right now,” he said. “Everything that has and will happen is of the present. Seize the moment. Live in the present.”

Sergeant had a tough time saying goodbye to his graduating students, choking up twice during his commencement speech as he recalled several instances throughout their time at Cary-Grove that defines them as an “all for one” type of class.

“These seniors are selfless,” Sergeant said. “They think of others before themselves. They don’t need to be challenged, it’s who they are.”

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