McHENRY – Graduation seems like it can take forever to get to for many students, but for Michael Sawa and Brian Treptow it only seemed like the longest nine months of their lives.
Sawa and Treptow graduated early over the summer but did not walk in a graduation ceremony until Thursday when they were joined by 202 of their classmates at McHenry High School East.
The duo were stuck working jobs isolated from their friends.
“It finally feels like some closure,” Sawa said. “Now it’s time to start life after high school and really enjoy it.”
Sawa’s enthusiasm for the next stage of life was shared by his classmates Thursday, ready and nervous to move away from McHenry for an extended period of time for the first time for much of the class.
National Honor Society member Dylan Weaver will be headed to University of Illinois in Champaign where he intends to study computer and electrical engineering. While he was a member of the Link Crew – a group dedicated to helping incoming freshmen transition to high school – he knows it will be much different in college.
“I’m kind of nervous because you can never know where your future is going to take you,” Weaver said. “I really loved it here but I am excited for a whole new experience.”
For others, such as Brian Anderson and Brad Korstanje, the fact they would not see the hallways and lockers of McHenry High School East did not really sink in until Thursday. The two athletes plan to ply their trade in separate Wisconsin schools, with Anderson heading to University of Wisconsin–Stout while Korstanje will go to University of Wisconsin–LaCrosse.
“Looking back on it, I wouldn’t really want to go to any other school,” Anderson said of McHenry East. “The building is not great, but the teachers were.”
The night was as emotional for teachers as it was for seniors. Special education teacher Kathi Freiberger said the Class of 2014 was a tight-knit group that stood out even after her 24 years at the school.
As sponsor of the National Honor Society, she said she develops close relationships with those students and is always excited to see where their next journey takes them.
“I’m always excited for the kids, especially the ones who gave it their all,” Freiberger said. “It never gets old.”