CARY – Students from the 2014 Cary-Grove High School senior class walked calmly under the sun and collected their diplomas, as their top classmate urged them to one day pay back the reward.
The 416 students from the senior class, known in Principal Jay Sargeant’s eyes as “calm, cool” and “unflappable,” collectively closed a four-year chapter in their lives at midfield of the Cary-Grove Trojans’ football stadium Saturday.
Describing how blessed he was to attend Cary-Grove, valedictorian Kyle Haacker reminded the graduating seniors not to forget the investment the Cary community made during the past four years.
He urged them to give back the investment, whether they go on to become a soldier, coach, engineer or teacher.
“I guarantee you will live a much happier and more wholesome life as a giver than you probably will as a taker,” said Haacker, who graduated with a 4.783 GPA and plans on attending UCLA in the fall to study computer science and engineering.
The graduation ceremony, marked by applause, music, speeches and sweat, was the final celebration for a senior class that school officials described as one of the most successful in Cary-Grove’s history.
Among the accolades, the class graduated 79 students with a 4.0 GPA or higher, 70 Illinois state scholars and three national merit finalists.
The senior class also had its share of memorable moments.
They helped turn the traditionally unofficial senior Powder Puff game into a school-sponsored event and handled a major prom interruption – brought on by two broken buses – with ease, Sargeant said.
It’s moments like those that salutatorian Kevin Wilde said his classmates shouldn’t forget as they embark on the next phase of their lives.
The lessons learned at Cary-Grove are meant to help guide them long after graduation, said Wilde, who will attend Northwestern University this fall to study computer science.
“It’s time for us to leave Cary-Grove, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a little bit with us,” he said.