Whitewater High School graduates begin their next chapter
Whitewater High School
Number of graduates: 140
Valedictorians: Amanda Larson and Robert Wiley Deal
Salutatorian: Jacob Moffatt
Featured speaker: Raymond Lauersdorf
Songs: "Pomp and Circumstance," "Star Wars Processional," "Horn Concerto No. 1," "Seasons of Love," "Breakaway," "Defying Gravity" and "American Hymn."
WHITEWATER When Whitewater High School co-valedictorian Amanda Larson sat down to write her graduation speech, she wanted to avoid any clichés or bland advice.
She succeeded by looking for inspiration from an unlikely source: a series of children's horror novels known as "Goosebumps."
Larson told the 140 students of the Class of 2011 that it was time for them to begin writing their own life stories.
Choose your adventure
Larson described the "Goosebumps" books where the reader could determine the ending by choosing different paths throughout the story. Larson admitted to cheating a few times by skipping to the end of the books to find the path to the best ending.
However, Larson said, that is not the way real life works, and the tricky part is not knowing how everyone's stories will turn out.
She finished her speech with a challenge to her fellow graduates: Go out into the world and write your own adventures.
"The intro is now done, and now it's time to start chapter one," Larson said. "Our books still need to be written … we now hold the pen."
The Class of 2011 and their guests were treated to four musical performances throughout the ceremony. Senior Ian Stone performed a horn solo; the school choir sang "Seasons of Love"; senior Anna Foucault played guitar and sang Carrie Underwood's "Breakaway," and senior Kathryn Letellier sang "Defying Gravity" from the play "Wicked."
Letellier's voice filled the Whitewater gymnasium as she sang about new beginnings and taking risks: "Too late for second-guessing, too late to go back to sleep, it's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap!"
Are you ready?
Whitewater teacher Raymond Lauersdorf told the graduates he knew he was supposed to reference some song lyrics to inspire them and impart wisdom. He said he had chosen "a real humdinger" from the popular '90s metal band Korn.
In the beginning of one of Korn's songs, lead singer Jonathan Davis asks listeners, "Are you ready?"
"I think he meant are you ready for our band to melt your brain," Lauersdorf said.
However, he said his message was a little different.
He asked the graduates if they were ready for the responsibility and hard work that goes along with growing up and graduating from high school. He said if students stand still after graduation, they will be left behind.
"Everyone will be taking a step forward, whether it's to college, the workforce or entering the military," Lauersdorf said. "Are you ready? I have faith in you all, and I know the answer is yes."