WOODSTOCK – Mary McCormack accessorized her blue graduation cap and gown with black and white polka dot tights and bright red pumps.
“I tried to make them pop because this is all you see,” she said, smiling and gesturing to her gown.
McCormack, 18, of Woodstock, and nearly 160 others marched across the stage Friday evening in the gym of Marian Central Catholic High School as the graduating Class of 2013.
McCormack was excited, but also had a nervous feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“It’s like a double ending, of the school year and a whole section of your life,” she said.
McCormack said she plans to attend Millikin University to study musical theater, but she be won’t be gone from her high school forever.
As she leaves, her younger sister will take her place as a freshman in the fall.
“I’d love to come back to visit teachers and embarrass my sister,” McCormack said.
In his welcome, Superintendent Thomas Landers asked students to thank God as well as their parents, family members, mentors and the others who helped them get where they are today.
They have become leaders, athletes, thespians, musicians, artists and more, Landers said.
“You have been very positive role models for your younger schoolmates, and for that I am deeply appreciative,” he said.
Salutatorian Emily Cleven accepted an award in front of her classmates, as did three valedictorians: Rachel DiPirro, Connor Sundberg and Margaret Van Der Bosch.
Van Der Bosch noted it was the last time the class would all be present together.
No, she said, they probably won’t use that thing they were taught in math class that one time.
But they will use the logic and problem-solving skills it took to master it, and they will remember the patience and dedication of the teacher.
“What we learned here has changed the substance of who we are, and we are stronger and more able because of it,” she said.
DiPirro spoke of her 8-year-old self wanting to be a pirate, but she didn’t have a ship, an accent or the right hat.
She wanted the freedom and independence, and the ability to go where she pleased.
“In the end, it’s probably for the best I‘m not going to become a pirate,” she said. “I do not know where my journey will take me, but I’m sincerely thankful I was able to meet all of you.”