Class of 2018 graduates
Posted Thursday, July 5, 2018 —
The Class of 2018 graduated June 22 at the Smith Opera House with a strong sense of what and whom they were leaving behind.
“High school was never just about the tests and the presentations and the essays and the piles of homework. Those aren’t the memories that are going to stick with us,” said Valedictorian Madison Kerlan. “A few months from now when you’re somewhere strange with all these strange people … you’re going to miss [English teacher Ryan] DeWolf. … You didn’t sign up to take another year of calculus, you know, after integrals ruined your life because you just really, really love crying over math—you did it because you just really, really love [math teacher] Mr. [Jim] Cala. … You’re not going to miss mac and cheese day—I mean, you might wish you had some mac and cheese—but you’re really going to miss Alice [ Overstreet] the lunch lady.
“You’re going to forget about all the things you complained about in high school because they don’t matter, they never did,” Madison continued. “What matters is everyone who stood by you all along the way. The people who made you who you are as you sit here in your cap and gown. You will remember them.”
Her assertions seemed to offer immediate answer to Superintendent Trina S. Newton’s own aspirations for the class noted moments before. “I hope as you look back on your time in the Geneva City School District, you remember those educators who had an impact on your lives,” said Ms. Newton, sharing memories of an educator, Coach Ball, from her own time in high school. “He was a true hero to many of us,” she said. “There are numerous Coach Balls among the Geneva City School District faculty, staff and community: Faculty and staff who went above and beyond to ensure your success in and out of the classroom, those who guided you from day to day, assisted you with college applications or letters of recommendation, adults who went to bat for you when you need a second, a third or a fourth chance. The unassuming, kind, caring community members who provided you with resources unbeknownst to you because they care more about your success and the impact you will have as you begin your new chapter. You are here today because a community believes in your potential. I hope as you begin your legacy, you emulate the kind, caring people from this community.”
Salutatorian Ben Mittiga, however, turned his audience’s attention to the future. “The simple truth is everyone sitting here tonight is blessed. … The opportunities are endless for all of you,” he said. “As Mr. Cala would say, your possibilities would not converge, because they are infinite—it’s a calc joke. … I firmly believe that everyone walking the stage tonight has something important to offer the world. …”