HOFFMAN ESTATES – Dundee-Crown High School valedictorian David Nellessen praised his fellow graduates Saturday for all that they have achieved, but he also posed a challenge.
“As we transition to the next stage of our lives, I want to challenge each one of you to be passionate about whatever it is you choose to do,” Nellessen said. “Be open to changes that come your way. And don’t be afraid of failure. Find something that you love to do, and be excellent at it.”
Principal Lynn McCarthy addressed the students and audience at the Sears Centre Arena and acknowledged the class’s contribution to the social and academic parts of the Dundee-Crown community.
Sixteen seniors earned a score of 30 or higher on the ACT, 11 were named AP Scholars and 47 were named Illinois State Scholars. Together the class earned more than $3.6 million in scholarships.
“You have all earned your diploma by hard work and diligence,” McCarthy said. “We will miss your smiles and those quiet hellos in the hall. We will miss the natural way that you interacted to make sure that all students felt included in the Dundee-Crown community.
“While you have contributed to the Dundee-Crown community, we know there is life beyond our halls,” she said.
Sara Tompkins will study music business at Fort Lewis College in Colorado. Tompkins is aware of the responsibilities that await her.
“It’s mixed feelings,” Tompkins said. “I’m excited but I know that I should be a little scared since the rest of my life is right in front of me now.”
Andrew Kryca is staying positive as he prepares to study mechanical engineering at Milwaukee School of Engineering.
“[I] just hope to make my college experience better than my high school experience,” Kryca said. “It was like a home to me at Dundee-Crown.”
Nellessen thanked the administrators, family and fellow students for being part of the evolution of each graduate.
“These past four years have been nothing short of transformative,” Nellessen said. “We all walked into Dundee-Crown not knowing what our lives would be like by the end of our stay here.
“I myself walked into Dundee-Crown as an awkward, nerdy kid. And now I’m walking out as an awkward, nerdy kid with glasses.”