HOFFMAN ESTATES – The Dundee-Crown Class of 2014 batted around its trademark beach balls one last time Sunday afternoon at the close of graduation ceremonies at the Sears Centre.
The class of 550 graduates made the summer icons their totem this February when they decided to celebrate summer early – playing Beach Boys music in the hallways and bringing the brightly colored balls to lunch in order to beat the record cold.
This was just one example of the Class of 2014’s best qualities, according to Dundee-Crown Principal Lynn McCarthy – the group knew how to persevere and have fun.
“I have watched as you … worked countless hours in a job to assist yourself or your family financially; [took] care of siblings or your own child after school; dealt with the loss of a loved one or a friend; or struggled with health impairments," McCarthy said during her farewell speech to graduates.
“You have embraced Dundee-Crown’s diversity and grown with it, showing respect for others' backgrounds and personal views. Your class has been dedicated to making Dundee-Crown a great learning and social environment,” McCarthy said.
Dundee-Crown’s commencement was punctuated by moments of unabashed pride from staff and students.
“When you tell someone, ‘I go to Dundee-Crown,’ you’re going to get a pretty wide array of responses,” said Caroline Hutton during her welcome speech.
Hutton described her school as a place where being the underdog is a title worn with pride.
“We’ve all heard the stereotypes … but the thing is, what makes Crown so special is ... something you can only see from the inside. What makes Dundee-Crown so great is the people,” she said.
Dundee-Crown uniquely prepares its students for the future because it is a place where people from “vastly different backgrounds” have to learn to form one community in order to succeed," Hutton said.
“Our time at Dundee-Crown has prepared us for the future in a way that no other school could,” she said.
And the Class of 2014 did succeed. Twenty-two seniors graduated with an ACT score greater than 30. The graduating class also boasts 45 Illinois State Scholars and has earned a combined $4.1 million in scholarships, so far, according to school officials.
A total of 18 graduates will or already have committed to serve in the military, school officials said.