Gillett says farewell to 2023 graduating seniors

38 walk across the stage, take next steps in life
Luke Reimer

As 38 seniors’ high school careers came to an end, Gillett staff and administration made the final send off during graduation on May 28.

Gillett Secondary Principal Shawn Limberg looked to the recently released movie “Air” as inspiration for the goodbye. A story of a shoe company on a journey trying to recruit Michael Jordan proved to have great similarities to the journey that the graduating seniors are about to embark upon.

“The illusion is that the finish line is the destination,” said Limberg, quoting Ben Affleck’s character, Phil Knight. “The act itself is the destination. This quote itself is a powerful reminder that the journey is just as important as the destination. It is not just about reaching the finish line, but about the experiences and lessons that we learn along the way.”

Limberg asked that for those graduating to live in the moment in everything that they do after high school.

“Class of 2023, you are about to finish your high school experience and go out into the world on a journey,” said Limberg. “Some to college, some right into the work force and some into the military. It is through the journey that we take risks. It is through the journey that we build partnerships, and it is through the journey that we learn and grow. Congratulations to the class of 2023.”

Class president Cheyenne Krueger gave her fellow graduating class a send-off with a letter addressed to everyone as a whole.

“Dear class of 2023, the day that you have been striving for is finally here,” said Krueger. “All of this waiting makes me think of a poem that I have read almost every single day. It states, we wait every week for Friday, all year for summer and all life for happiness. I feel that this describes the school experience to a T.

“Through the years of waiting, we passed through the elementary school, where we witnessed our very first classmate wedding, middle school where we were properly shown how to siphon water from a fish tank, and finally high school, where we experienced so many more adventures and people.”

Salutatorian Vincent Vassallo showed thanks and gratitude to all of the staff that have helped get the class to where they are today.

“While today is predominately for our seniors, it is also for you teachers — all of your time slaving away to set up your classrooms and putting up with us,” said Vassallo. “Let me congratulate you on a fantastic job.”

Valedictorian Isabella Matczak took the stage to thank everyone in attendance for her growth as a person starting six years ago, when she arrived in the school district. She also touched on what the next step is for the graduating class.

“For some of you, this may be the most that you have heard speak in the years at Gillett,” said Matczak. “Thankfully however I am not the same person that I was and I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak today and be representing our class. Today is about all of us and the obvious question, what comes next? What happens when we walk out of this door as graduates and no longer students?

“I think we have all had this idea, that we suddenly transform into adults and have our whole lives planned out. As freshman, we were told that these four years will be the best of your life and it goes by fast. It did go by fast, but for all of our sakes, I really hope that they were wrong about the first part.”