Class of 2023 Takes the Stage at Graduation

Miranda Lopez gives her senior speech at graduation.

The chatter in the St. Charles Family Arena erupted into cheers as the 2023 graduates walked into the arena while the band playing presessional music. Everyone stood on their feet, cheering for their graduating family, friends and peers. Four years of preparation and learning, all coming to an end on the evening of May 25, 2023.

Graduation consists of music provided by the band and choir, speeches by the district superintendent Dr. Barry Nelson, high school principal Teisha Ashford, district Board of Education president Mary Kay Campbell, class president Allison Schrumpf, and two selected applicants to be senior speakers, Miranda Lopez and John “Wesley” Kiso.

The senior speakers were selected in April after submitting an application, competing against other speeches. The first speaker selected was Miranda Lopez, a member of the choir and theater and the second was Wesley Kiso, a band and soccer member.

“I know this is kind of corny, but I’ve always had this dream that I was going to speak,” Lopez said. “Either as valedictorian or something but little seven-year-old me knew she was going to talk.”

Her speech embraced her Hispanic culture and the importance of family and friends, as well as giving a farewell to her fellow graduates.

“It does not feel real. It feels like I will still be going to school tomorrow. I’m very sad that it’s over but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like it’s over,” Lopez said.

A week prior to graduation, an assembly was held to honor the “Top Ten Seniors,” which recognized the ten students with the highest GPAs of the class. Their GPAs ranged between 4.49 and 4.731 on a weighted scale. With a 4.731 GPA, Sarah Pieper, was the Class of 2023 valedictorian.

“It feels pretty good being valedictorian because I worked really hard for four years, trying to take a lot of classes with weighted grades and to get good grades,” Pieper said. “There’s just a lot of extra work, and extra effort to keep my grades like that, so I feel like it paid off to get first in the class.”

Even while taking difficult classes, Pieper still made time for activities and sports, not to overwhelm herself with school work.

“I think I’m gonna miss my activities like volleyball and orchestra. I’m gonna miss those a lot,” Pieper said.

As the graduates walked out of the arena, diplomas in hand and heads held high, they step into their new futures, each individualized to their own paths.

But first, summer break.

“I’m going to have a graduation party, and after that, I’m gonna hang out with my family, probably go swimming, and just enjoy life, my last technical high school summer,” Lopez said.