Elmwood Park High School graduates celebrated for Tiger pride
Elmwood Park High School's Combined Choirs sing "That Lonesome Road". Elmwood Park High School held its 56th Annual graduation on May 18. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:35PM
Elmwood Park High School parents, teachers and teary graduates filled the gym, excited to congratulate the class of 2012, all 233 of them, during the 56th annual graduation on May 18.
Everyone commented on this year’ dedicated, enthusiastic group of students, who are filled with Tiger pride.
“This class has been one of the best classes Elmwood Park has ever seen,” said special education teacher John Heinen. “They were very dedicated to their school and were dedicated to both sports and athletics.”
“It was a joy to get to know each and every one of them,” said Special Education teacher Becky Smason. “They brought a lot of pride and encouragement to our school. I am definitely going to miss their personalities and energy.”
The Elmwood Park choir performed the “Star-Spangled Banner” and “The Lonesome Road.” The songs ended with the members hugging each other good bye. The Elmwood Park band also performed “Spitfire.”
“Throughout your life, you will be met with many challenges that you will overcome. It will make you stronger,” said school board member Patricia Cleary said during her speech. “Challenges will come no matter what your age, but how you overcome them shows the type of person you are. Stay smart and stay safe.”
Salutatorian Kim Hagen became overwhelmed with emotion when giving her speech.
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today without these people,” Hagen said. “I’ve discovered who I am because of these people.”
Valedictorian Andrea LaGreca added humor in her dialogue.
“We came into this school on August 22, 2008, as scrawny 14-year-olds, and even though we still are, I see before me future doctors, lawyers and politicians,” LaGreca said. “So it’s time to kick ass because we have the rest of our lives ahead of us. Good luck, even though you won’t need it!”
Mayor Peter Silvestri gave the class of 2012 words of encouragement.
“Every day of your life from here on in is what you make of it,” Silvestri said. “Before me I see (all) successes.”
The class gift was also presented by LaGreca which consisted of a donated laptop cart, $1,000 to post prom, and refurbishing the mascot tiger on the floor in the front of the school.
After the awarding of the diplomas, a weepy group of graduates were greeted with hugs from parents and staff. Most graduates said they were going to miss their friendships made, teachers and their Elmwood Park family.
“Elmwood Park High School has taught me so much. I’ve learned to be comfortable in my own shell and be myself,” said Caitlin Burd. “Everyone has been so supportive.”
Christian Silvestri agreed. “I’ve been here my whole life, and all of my friends are here. I’ve learned to really love this place. I am really going to miss my friends and sports.”
Several students and parents felt their children wouldn’t have gotten the quality of education anywhere else that Elmwood Park had to offer.
“Elmwood Park High School is a special place for me,” said Silvestri. “There are so many outlets for the children to succeed whether it be sports, theater, music or academics,” he said, “We are so proud of them.”
“My children have had a wonderful education here,” said parent Barbara Bauer. “I am very pleased with all of the extracurricular activities and academics. I have had four Elmwood Park graduates!”
Although the class of 2012 are going off to bigger and better things, their hearts will always be at Elmwood Park High School.
“I will definitely miss everyone and everything here,” said Timmy Cleary. “No matter what I do in my life, I will never forget my four years at Elmwood Park.”