.Nearly 900 members of the Class of 2013 said "goodbye" to Proviso East High School, Proviso Math and Science Academy, and Proviso West High School at commencement ceremonies held on Sunday, May 26, at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
The 898 seniors at the three schools graduated with pomp and circumstance during the ceremonies that were a mixture of congratulations for their efforts and hard work, happiness for graduating, and sadness in leaving friends and high school behind them as they move on to a new chapter in their lives.
Daniel Adams, president of the Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Board of Education, encouraged the graduates to "go out and do something."
"Whatever you do, pursue it with gusto and passion," he said. "But as you go out into the world, whether it is college or the workforce, remember that life is about personal responsibility. Whatever you put into life is what you get out of it."
Students who spoke at the ceremonies also encouraged their fellow graduates to do great things.
Brittany Buckner, who was the valedictorian at Proviso East, talked of memories of high school such as working with science teacher, Mr. Glenn Lid, the varsity boys’ basketball team going undefeated, and the average ACT score for her class being "among the best in awhile." However, she said that they should use those memories to do bigger things.
"Yes, we have reached the end of this journey, but it is only the beginning of more to come," Brittany said. "We all have the power to do something great with our lives, but it is up to us to put what the staff here at East and our parents have instilled in us to use."
Ricardo Ramirez, a PMSA graduate, spoke of the lessons he and his fellow graduates at PMSA learned and what many of them will become.
"At PMSA, we’ve learned lessons that were more valuable than memorizing terms from a textbook," he said. "Together, we’ve all learned who we are, what we stand for, and what we are all willing to for fight for. We truly defined ourselves at PMSA, and that’s something BluJ couldn’t compile for us."
Katherine Oduh, the valedictorian of the senior class at Proviso West, said that graduating from high school was the first step into a bigger world, no matter where the graduates went from there.
"Stay focused and reach for your dreams," she said. "Don’t let things distract you on the road to success, and although that road won’t be easy, it will be absolutely worth it."