• Megann Horstead

Liberty students graduate, look to start next chapter


The commencement ceremony for Liberty Junior High School students was held May 31.

The graduates processed into the gymnasium at Lincoln-Way West High School one-by-one and took to their seats.

National Junior Honor Society and Student Council Executive Board Member Megan Mindy began the program by offering some opening remarks and wanted to thank all the teachers, administrators, parents, siblings and other relatives for being there to mark the occasion.

Mindy said it’s important to recognize they who “have supported us and guided us to be the people that we are today.”

“As we move onto high school, I encourage all of you to get out there, be brave, and be a part of all the adventures that are waiting for us,” Mindy said. “Make more amazing memories, like the ones we’ve created here at Liberty. Always remember: You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. It is time for all of us to go write the most exciting chapter.”

The Class of 2017 co-valedictorians took time to speak on behalf of their classmates, the first being Alyssa Barta.

“Tonight, marks the end of junior high and the beginning of high school where we, as students, will have to work harder than ever,” Barta said, noting it is crucial to take time reflect on the last eight years of their educational experience. “First, I’d like to recognize the teachers. They have worked hard to teach us some very valuable lessons both academically and socially. Students, we should be extremely grateful to have this wonderful group of people who have helped and guide us along the way.”

Barta extended gratitude to parents and families on behalf of the graduating class.

“Our parents and families have kept us driven and on the right track, not to mention they have always supported us,” she said.

Another Co-Valedictorian Marc Trevino said she is honored to represent the junior high this year.

“To me, [being co-valedictorian] means working hard and giving your best effort in school, but also it does not mean being the only one recognized, because we all have worked hard throughout our time at junior high, and we should all be recognized for that,” she said.

Trevino wanted to leave some words of wisdom for her peers as they move onto high school in the fall.

“My fellow graduates, life is not about having the highest [grade-point average], but it is about being honest and treating everyone with fairness, kindness, respect, dignity,” she said. “If you follow that, you will always be a valedictorian and will make yourself and your family proud.”

Principal Shane Street sought to recognize student achievements and presented the recipients of departmental awards, Des Plaines Valley Conference Scholastic Awards, Marie Szwast Award, and John Oster Award to the crowd.

The superintendent and members of the New Lenox School District 122 Board of Education took turns presenting diplomas to graduating students.

“With all the time ahead of you, there is no limit to what you may see, but more importantly, what you have the opportunity to accomplish,” said William Pender, board president of New Lenox School District 122 Board of Education.

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