HOFFMAN ESTATES – Although the Harry D. Jacobs High School graduating class gathered this weekend to celebrate its own academic achievement, students at the graduation ceremony Saturday spent a lot of time honoring those who had helped them earn their diplomas.
“For the countless hours of support you put in … for dealing with our teenage years, however unruly they may have been, we thank you,” Kelsey Cummings said.
The 17-year-old Student Council President delivered the welcome speech during graduation at the Sears Centre.
“For not only being on our backs, but for watching and having our backs, we thank you,” Cummings said.
The thankful attitude pervaded every speech, including remarks made by valedictorian Hari Manikandan, 18, of Carpentersville.
“To our teachers, thank you for unselfishly sharing your time and knowledge,” Manikandan said, acknowledging teachers’ gifts of time when they are supposed to be “free” – after school, at lunch and during advisory periods.
Gratitude dominated salutatorian Thomas John Chirayil’s speech, as well. The 18-year-old from Carpentersville thanked his Indian immigrant parents for their sacrifices and the example of hard work they had lived for him.
The sea of gold-garbed grads further showed their humble attitude during the ceremony when they delivered an impromptu standing ovation to the eight among them who joined the military.
Parker Zins, Nicholas Capone and Trevor Brennan will serve in the Marines. Steven Carrington and Joseph Slovak will join the Army. Charles Goins will leave for the Coast Guard. Martin Finucane will join the Navy.
Tara Randazzo already had left for training with the Army National Guard and was not present at Saturday’s celebration.
Although the 521 members of the Jacobs Class of 2014 each look to his or her own future, the group hopes to leave behind a lasting legacy of school spirit.
During commencement, graduate Elena Voiculescu announced that the Class of 2014’s gift back to Jacobs High School is a contribution toward the purchase of a 9-foot statue for the school.
The statue will include an eagle soaring over books, a football helmet and other representations of all that make up Jacobs High School, she said, including the infamous, “this is our house,” chant.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been changed to correct the attribution of statements made by Elena Voiculescu. The Northwest Herald regrets the error.