Badger High School graduates celebrate end of their high school years
Photos from high school graduations around southern Wisconsin.
LAKE GENEVA A red tail hawk occasionally dotted the expansive, cloudless sky that enclosed Sunday's graduation ceremony at Badger High School.
The ceremony happened on the manicured turf of Badger's athletic field. Graduates in maroon gowns and mortarboards were seated on gleaming white chairs meticulously arranged on the kelly green lawn.
Spectators sat on aluminum bleachers in a stadium that baked in the afternoon sun to cheer on the school's 53rd graduating class.
Of the 267 graduates, 107, or 40 percent, graduated with honors by maintaining 3.3 grade point averages throughout seven semesters.
A choir of grads and underclassmen sang the "Star Spangled Banner." Frank Kresen of American Legion Post 24 presented the colors.
Wear a helmet
In her address, graduate Arianne Waltor praised teachers who, despite feeling underappreciated, continued to mold student minds and to "not let us fail."
"Life comes at you fast," she said, "so wear a helmet."
Senior class president Thomas Slater read the names of graduates as they walked across the stage. The only mishap? A grad tripped on a microphone cord on the grass and kept her balance, but the microphone stand fell over.
Some spectators brought umbrellas to block the sun as graduate after graduate walked across the red carpet. Cold water and sunscreen were prized commodities.
Programs that listed grad names and guests quickly found use as makeshift fans waved during the 90-minute ceremony. Women held tightly to congratulatory bouquets and balloons. Babies cried. Underclassmen blew whistles.
The heat intolerant sought shelter underneath and behind the bleachers where a reliable steady breeze could be found.
Brenda Gruenwald-Schmitz, co-valedictorian, challenged the members of the 2011 graduating class to dream and build a plan for themselves and to make their dreams come true.
She quoted the rock band Aerosmith by saying, "Dream on, dream on, dream on, dream until the dream comes true."
Superintendent James Gottinger also challenged grads to establish building blocks for themselves. He predicted that many would soon forget their graduation day, but he urged them to remember the speakers' messages of moving forward through adversities with plans of action and to "dream on."
After graduation, classmates, friends and relatives lingered outside of the stadium for pictures, hugs and farewells. They also shared highlights of their high school careers.
Jacob Blanda, a defensive lineman for Badgers' football team, said a best memory was his team beating Waterford High School last fall in double overtime.
Laura Fortner said her memorable event was the final performance in band where she played either French horn or trumpet. Laura is putting music on hold because she enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. The freckled young lady was expected to report on the evening of her graduation.
Gregory Huculak said his best moment was last fall's homecoming football game because he got to see his friends play.
Jean Cabrerra talked of psychology teacher Chris Minter, who made him feel welcome in class and opened his curiosity about the subject.
Alexandra Condos said her highlight was becoming and staying best friends with Amanda Minter.
Amada Minter, Chris Minter's daughter, said her best experience was having Alexandra as a friend, followed by driving to school with her dad every day from Janesville and seeing a lot of sunrises.
Danene Gibbs said her best memory was the beauty and magic of senior prom.
Christopher Hautala, who was Danene's date, said senior prom was the most memorable school event for him, too.
Danene had lost her red and white tassel from her mortarboard, and Chris was helping her search the expansive school grounds to find it.
Minter walked up to the couple and said all one had to do to get Danene to laugh was to tell her to smile. The two plan to attend UW-Whitewater.