IPSD204 celebrates the class of 2023

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On Sunday, May 28, seniors from Indian Prairie School District 204 (IPSD204) walked the stage at Northern Illinois University. The ceremonies were spread out throughout the day inside NIU’s Convocation Center.

Commencement started with school officials speaking to the graduating classes.

“Today is really about two things; hope and promise,” said Neuqua Valley High School Principal, Dr. Lane Fuhrer. “It’s about the work that you’ve done and the ambitions that you have to get you in the seat that you are sitting in today.”

Overcoming challenges

In addition to the challenges any high school graduating class faces, this year’s class was one of the few who went through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the past few years, each and every single one of you has discovered yourselves and grown into adults,” said Metea Valley High School Graduate, Ananya Gondesi. “From adjusting to high school and losing your second year to a pandemic, to dealing with SATs and despising seniors for off-campus lunch, to finally getting to leave during the school day, only to be hit with ten-minute freezes. Us seniors have endured a lot.

2,176 seniors graduated from IPSD204

Each school had at least 600 graduating seniors, all of whom are different from one another.

“Now, sadly, I don’t have time to recognize every unique vision of our graduating class, yet we all together do have the chance to do something profound,” said Waubonsie Valley Graduate, Gavin Smith. “Graduates, we have the majority of our lives ahead of us, and this gives us a valuable opportunity. We have the chance to use the skills we have honed over these 13 years to make a positive difference.”

One Metea Valley graduate says that it’s not exactly what they learned during High School, but how they learned.

“Embrace Learning. Looking back, we’re not going to remember that one specific lesson in stats about heteroskedasticity or that one specific psychology term,” said Metea Valley graduate, Aditya Dave. “But we’re going to remember the work ethic, relationships, and skills forged in those classrooms. So although we’re leaving the typical classroom, welcome that learner mindset.”

IPSD204 superintendent, Dr. Adrian Talley reminded students to thank those who helped them along the way.

“Remember to thank those who have helped you and be grateful to all who have supported you in your endeavors,” said IPSD204 Superintendent, Dr. Adrian Talley. “Finally, think about how each of you can lift and help others in need. Someone was there for you. Will you be there for others?

Growing up and finding their passion

The path to success is never easy, says a Neuqua Valley High School graduate.

“I know your journey at Neuqua from freshman year up until now, riddled with metaphorical potholes, hasn’t been the most linear, but the path to success rarely is,” said Neuqua Valley High School graduate, Annie Qu. “Luckily, our time as Wildcats has prepared us to make our mark by acting, leading, and creating confidently and with purpose.

Life moves fast and being a teenager can be difficult.

“And finally, graduates of the Class of 2023. We did it. We grew up. Despite telling ourselves we never wanted to age when we were younger,” said Waubonsie Valley High School graduate, Sophia Lee. “We grew up and in the best way possible. Together, we have shared the struggles and beauties of teenagehood to create an exceptional high school experience. When we were younger, we were afraid of getting older. Now, as we receive our diplomas, we are invigorated by it.”

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