AHS graduates more than 250
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – Ashwaubenon High School’s 51st annual commencement ceremony took place Sunday, June 3, in the high school fieldhouse with more than 250 students in the Class of 2018 graduating.
This year’s valedictorian, Bailey Conradt, led the students to their seats in front of the stage for the processional with Mara Schroeder as the salutatorian.
Jenna Lewaren, senior class president, stated in her welcoming address that the best years for the graduates are yet to come.
“The book of our lives has many chapters,” she said.
Three speeches were also delivered by the senior class.
Matthew Hawkins spoke on “Choose Your Own Adventure” and brought on stage with him a space and adventure paperback book, in which the reader decides what happens next.
Maggie Nipps, who said she is “so ready to get out of (Ashwaubenon High School),” delivered a speech titled “On Strings and New Beginnings.”
Nipps noted the connections she was able to make while in high school and urged her classmates to “dream big.”
Julie Clabots and Emilie Van Sluys combined for the final senior class speech, “Flight to the Future,” in which they compared graduating to high school to the entire senior class flying on an airplane.
High School Principal Brian Nelsen, who presented the Class of 2018 for graduation, noted he had given the students two challenges four years ago – how they would leave their mark individually and as a class.
“I asked and you delivered,” said Nelson, who pointed out this year’s graduates received $1.6 million in scholarship awards, performed 19,000 community service hours and earned a variety of academic and extra-curricular awards while in high school.
Nelson also made reference to this year’s class motto, a quote from Vice the Lombardi, which states, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
“Catch excellence by working hard, and not being afraid to fail, and when you do (fail), pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back at it,” Nelsen said. “Never give up.”
Superintendent Brian Hanes, who is retiring at the end of current school year and accepted the Class of 2018, challenged the graduates to “take pride in what you do and work hard.”
“Mr. Nelsen alluded to the importance of saying ‘thank you,’ as did some of the great student speakers,” Hanes said. “I’m going to challenge you (by) saying this, ‘Please, set the cell phone down a little more often.’ Grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, the people around you really do want to have (an) eye-to-eye (conversation) directly. So I challenge you to say ‘thank you’ and show your appreciation…”
Hanes, who has been in education for 36 years with the last seven being Ashwaubenon’s superintendent, received his own diploma after all the graduating seniors walked across the stage to receive their diplomas presented by school board members Michelle Garrigan, Jay Van Laanen and Jennifer Vyskocil.
The commencement also featured the Senior Concert Choir performing “Hail Ashwaubenon” as well as the class song, “Imagine” by John Lennon, while the 2018-19 wind ensemble performed at the beginning and end of the ceremony.