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Elwood Knights Take on the Future with the Trademark Blue Ribbon Spirit

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On the sunny evening of June 28, The Elwood-John H. Glenn Class of 2019 emerged proudly onto the field in blue and white caps and gowns for their last act as high school students—graduation. Led by administration, faculty, and Board of Education trustees, the students processed past a cheering audience of family, friends and loved ones to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” performed by the high school band.

Class president Russel Rohan led the Pledge of Allegiance and the high school band, under the baton of Vicki Henson, played the national anthem before Principal Carisa Burzynski took the opportunity to welcome all those in attendance, and thanking the families, Board of Education, fellow administrators and community for their support.

She praised the graduating class for all they’ve accomplished in the past four years at John H. Glenn and took a moment to commend them also for helping the high school earn the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award.

“I can say with confidence after these past four years that we are all in the presence of true leaders,” said Mrs. Burzynski of the Class of 2019, “who are ready to leave John Glenn and make a positive impact on the world.”

Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bossert took a moment to commend the students and thank them for the emphasis they all place on high academic achievement, giving back to their surrounding community, and the desire to leave the district better than they found it.

Board of Education member Deborah Weiss addressed the graduating class before her son, Nicholas Weiss, the Class of 2019 graduation speaker, would later on take the podium. Mrs. Weiss remarked how proud she was, as a mother, to watch the class grow from inquisitive little minds into confident, driven young adult, how much confidence she has in their ability to succeed, and how much the cumulative Elwood family will miss each and every one of them.

During a musical interlude, the high school band performed James Swearingen’s “The Light Eternal.”

Salutatorian Olivia Kelly recalled important lessons learned in the Elwood School District, including knowing to cherish a tight sense of community. She urged her classmates to express gratitude to all those that helped them along the way, and to not forget the amazing community they came from. “All of the things we’ve experienced were not a path away from John Glenn but a plan towards a successful future; all of which will last a lifetime.”

Delivering the valedictory speech was Yeji Lee, who addressed her classmates with both lightheartedness and seriousness; commenting that as she prepared this address, she realized that the lesson’s they’ve learned over the past four years will echo throughout the rest of their lives—and that she will never forget what it meant to belong, be loved, and be supported by the Elwood community.

“Our links to this special place are unbreakable and will forever be intertwined with our past present and futures,” she said. “Use what you’ve learned at John Glenn to approach every challenge or opportunity with open mindedness, integrity, and that trademark Blue Ribbon spirit.”

Class of 2019 graduation speaker Nicholas Weiss followed at the podium to reflect on the last four years at John H. Glenn. “At the beginning of our high school career, we had one goal—to make our mark on John Glenn. Now, as we leave, we assume a new goal—to make our mark on the world.”

Seniors then joined the chorus one last time for another musical interlude, performing Rob Thomas’ “Little Wonders,” arranged by music director Mrs. Rachel Nagel.

After Mrs. Burzynski, the Board of Education and administration confirmed that the seniors had met the requirements for graduation, each student received their diploma. Led by the members of student council, the seniors signified their commencement by moving their tassels from right to left. Blue and white caps then filled the air as the graduates were introduced as the newest alumni of the Elwood Union Free School District.

Congratulations, Class of 2019!