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Crystal Lake Central’s Class of 2014 ready to move forward

Published: Saturday, May 31, 2014 11:36 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 9:21 a.m. CST
(Kyle Grillot –
The choir celebrates after performing "Circle of Life" Saturday during the Crystal Lake Central High School commencement.

Elizabeth Svigelj remembers seeing her father's valedictorian picture on the wall of his high school when she was a small child.

Her grandparents took her to see the photo. Her father had a serious look on his face in the picture.

That day, Svigelj said, she announced that one day she, too, would have her photo on the wall of her high school. But she would be smiling.

On Saturday, the dream came true for Svigelj, of Crystal Lake, as the salutatorian graduated with the Crystal Lake Central Class of 2014. She shared the story of her childhood goal during commencement.

The ceremony took place in the field house and included performances by the Central band and choir as well as addresses from four students, and speeches from School Board Member Karen Whitman and Principal Steven Olson.

“Today is about pride as much as it is moving forward,” said valedictorian Kyle Iwamoto, 18, of Crystal Lake.

He sent his classmates off with a wish to find beauty in life and love.

Olson encouraged students to “become a better version of yourself each day,” and praised the Class of 2014’s many accomplishments.

PHOTO GALLERY: See the best photos from Crystal Lake Central's commencement ceremony.

This year’s graduates are headed to 95 different colleges spread across 27 states, Olson said. The Class of 2014 also boasts 58 Illinois State Scholars – the highest number in the school’s history, according to District 155 spokesman Jeff Puma.

In addition, seven Tigers are going from the halls of Crystal Lake Central to the U.S. military.

Juliano Opiela, 18, of Crystal Lake; Gavin Davis, 18, of Woodstock; and Zachary Gemmel, 17 of Crystal Lake, are headed for the U.S. Marines. 

Sofia Loschiavo, 17, of Crystal Lake, and Joshua Szarafinski, 18, of Crystal Lake, will serve in the U.S. Army.

Soren Scheff, 18, of Woodstock, has joined the National Guard; and Zachary Stebelton, 17, of Crystal Lake, will be in the U.S. Navy.

After the names of the more than 390 graduates had been read, the group tossed their black mortar boards to the rafters and gave a collective roar.


• 58 Illinois State Scholars – represents the most in school history

• 2 National Merit Commended Students (Ethan Lockwood and Elizabeth Svigelj)

• 10 Fox Valley Conference championship teams

• 5 Teams qualifying for IHSA state tournaments

• 3 Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Choir members

• 2 IHSA All-State girls tennis players

• 2 IHSA All-State wrestlers

• 1 IHSA All-State girls golfer

• 1 IHSA All-State boys cross country runner

• District 155 (including CLC) was named to the College Board’s Advance Placement District Honor Roll for the second year in a row. Across the U.S. and Canada, only 477 districts made the list which recognizes districts for their students’ success on AP exams. The district is one of only 18 in Illinois to earn this distinction two years in a row.

Courtesy of Community High School District 155 Director of Communications Jeff Puma.

(NOTE TO READERS: This story was corrected to fix a factual error.)

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