Teachers Remember Their Graduation

Kiara Billups, Staff Writer

Graduation is a memorable day for everyone. It’s the day where you feel like you are now open to the real world. As Round Lake High School’s Class of 2018 gets ready to graduate, we asked the staff and teachers from the school to give us a look back at their graduation experience.

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Mr. Justin Frieman (Drama 2 and French 3 Honors)

I graduated from Tremper High School (Kenosha, WI) in June of 1999. It was a very hot and humid day and the field house had no air conditioning. I was part of a group of seniors from the theatre program (I’m second from the left) that performed “Wear Sunscreen,” after the keynote speaker.   I was excited to be leaving high school and going off the college at UW-Madison. I would be separating from all my friends, some of whom I had been friends with since second grade, but they would all be going away to college too. I would still be in one more production with a lot of them that summer, so graduation was not our last goodbye.  That was really nice because I could focus on the good parts of graduating and not have to worry about the sad part of leaving everyone.”


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Mr. Robert Rosenberg (Criminalistics, Earth Science, and Earth Science Honors)

The boys graduated from New Trier High School in tuxedos and the girls wore pastel dresses.  No one really knew why; I think they just wanted us to be different. I remember on the day of graduation the gym was about 95ºF, and we were sweating like pigs.  Someone’s grandmother passed out and an ambulance had to come!

Leaving high school was bittersweet.  I had a great experience, but it was time to move on with my life.  My friends and I all were headed to different colleges and we had to write letters to stay in touch – cell phones didn’t exist!”

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Ms. Melissa Hawkins (Alternate School)

“I started as a freshman at Buffalo Grove High School, and was sent to alternative program my sophomore year because of truancy, insufficient credits and behaviors. I graduated from Vanguard School in January 1999.  Because my school was an alternative school, there were no caps and gowns, but my school did a small gathering to celebrate the graduates. I was excited to finally finish high school and move on to college. I wanted a fresh start because high school was so challenging for me. I spent all of my time and energy not attending high school at all costs and now I have a job where I go to school every day. Every path you take with an open heart and determination leads to where you were destined to be.”

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Ms. Kera Sanchez (Spanish 4 Honors, Spanish 3 Honors, and Heritage Spanish)

“I graduated from Prairie Ridge high school in 2005. I was excited to graduate but kind of sad at the same time. It was an extremely bittersweet time for me. I really enjoyed my high school experience and was always involved in student council, class committee, and the soccer team. My senior year, my team went 21-5 and my graduation day was actually the day after we went to state for soccer. We ended up losing in the first round, so I remember being sort of bummed that we had lost, but happy because if we didn’t, we would have been playing that day instead of attending the graduation ceremony. (We ended up placing 8th in the State that year)

I truly loved my friends, classes, and teachers, and I was nervous to leave my ‘high school’ life, and scared of missing my friends and the life I had grown accustomed to.

After high school, I started that August at Illinois State University and joined a sorority. I quickly jumped into university life and realized college was way more fun than high school! I still look back at high school fondly, but what follows is 10x more fun and exciting! Buckle up! Your life is about to BEGIN!”

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Ms. Anna Veksler (Current Events, U.S. History, and U.S. History Honors)

“I graduated with 1249 students. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I don’t even know all of these people!’ I also remembered thinking, ‘I really hope this isn’t my last graduation. I hope I can graduate from college!’ Other than that, my only other concern was my graduation cap not making my hair look bad and shaking and grabbing the diploma with the correct hands. Shake and grab. They really stressed that graduation practice!”


Ms. Rita Dainko (Heritage Spanish, Heritage Spanish 2, and Heritage Spanish 2 Honors)

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“In fourth grade, my teacher had us make a time capsule that we taped tightly shut and promised not to open until we graduated from high school. We had to include a polaroid picture of ourselves, along with any other items we wanted. My friends and I actually did all hang on to them, and we got together at my house right after the graduation ceremony to open them. None of us really remembered what we had put in there, but they were mostly full of the random stuff you would expect of a 10-year-old. Mine had stale Bazooka gum, dried-up gel pens, secret notes to friends, and a Kane County Cougar baseball. The fact that I was never much of a baseball player apparently didn’t factor into my selection process. I wasn’t the only one who made weird decisions, though; the real surprise was in the box of my friend Jill. When she opened her capsule, she saw something unidentifiable, and picked it up to get a better look. She screamed, threw it across the room, and it hit me in the face… it an animal pellet!”