WOODSTOCK – The last of four Fabian siblings and the only boy, Jose Fabian walked across the Woodstock North High School gym Saturday with “4 out of 4” written on his mortarboard.
No. 4 to graduate from the family, but the first at Woodstock North – his three older sisters having gone to Woodstock High before the two schools split.
Fabian and his fellow graduates, the Class of 2014, were the first to attend all four years of high school at the new school.
“I’m excited and I feel like this is a new chapter,” he said, planning to join the Navy and eventually become a nurse.
Graduate Karen Juarez also wants to enter the medical field, with a goal of becoming a pediatrician. She said she would enroll at McHenry County College in the fall and hopes to transfer to the University of Illinois after two years.
Juarez, too, decorated her mortarboard, hers with the phrase “the adventure is out there” and tags from cities around the world, like Rio, London and Hong Kong.
“I want to symbolize how we are going a lot of places,” she said.
For Jamie Rice, she had family planning to watch the ceremony from another place: West Virginia. For the first time, the graduation was live-streamed with several cameras, Principal Brian McAdow said.
Although her aunts and uncles were going to see her graduate from afar, Rice said she wished her grandmother, who died in January from breast cancer, could have.
Rice, who plans to study cosmetology, wrote some of the lyrics to her class song, “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” on her mortarboard in her grandmother’s memory.
“It applied in this situation,” she said.
Also remembered was student Dakota Jones, who died in 2012 from a rare illness, McAdow said. Two balloons marked the chair where he would have sat among his classmates and a moment of silence was held in honor of him, as well as his family members who were in attendance.
Salutatorian Christina Frasik and valedictorian Abigail Kreznor both spoke at the graduation, with Kreznor comparing the next steps in the graduates’ lives to when they learned to ride a bike without training wheels.
They will still have help from the friends and family that make up the elbow and knee pads, as well as the knowledge they’ve gained that makes up their “helmet,” Kreznor said.
“It’s time to ride on your own,” she said. “It’s not about the fall; it’s about what your learn from it.”
Annie Jewasinski was selected by her classmates to deliver a speech, telling them that they have perfected the “Thunder Way,” which included pretending to laugh at their principal’s jokes and pushing tables together at lunch to be able to sit with everyone.
“We’ve failed, cried, laughed, fought, broken the rules and found ourselves along the way,” Jewasinski said. “We just have to keep going north, inspiring others along the way.”