United holds graduation Sunday

Marty Touchette
Senior United students sing at the United High School graduation.

United High School celebrated the graduation of the 62 members of the class of 2010 Sunday afternoon at Monmouth College’s Glennie Gymnasium.

Of the 62 graduates, 51 have decided on a college and eight are headed into the military.

It was a ceremony punctuated by humorous moments. Perhaps the most humorous came during the address of class valedictorian Duncan Nall who said the group was now, “worthy of wearing these groovy hats.”

Nall and each of the student speakers, salutatorian Zach Steele, and presenter of the senior address Katy Schrader, gave thanks to their families, friends and teachers for leading them through the their high school years.

The writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson formed the basis of Nall’s message - Go where there is no path and leave a trail.

Earlier, Steele used the writings of Dr. Seuss to encourage his classmates to know where they were going and to chart their own path while giving their best effort.

The student speakers have their eyes on varying, yet somewhat similar paths. Steele is going to the University of Illinois to study civil engineering. Nall is off to Bradley to study biological chemistry and Schrader is off to Carl Sandburg College before heading to Greenville to study elementary education.

Schrader focused on the unity of the United class of 2010. She recalled the day when United students were paired up with Yorkwood students to help the newcomers get acclimated to UHS. She said the unity that developed as a result helped lead to the school’s success academically and athletically.

“That says a lot about us, a little school in  the middle of a cornfield,” she said. “We grew closer than I imagined (we could).”

Schrader also pointed to the strong student fan sections at United sporting events as evidence of the unity of the school.

As with any graduation, the bittersweet nature of the day was a topic. Excitement about new opportunities and challenges tempered with the loss of the familiar. Schrader had a unique way of thinking about it.

“All good things must come to an end. We all like snow days when we could just enjoy the day,” she said. “This blizzard is strong enough to keep us out of school forever. Time flies by. Enjoy the long snow day. We have snowmen to build, some will melt but what is important is that we have to keep packing it.”