HOFFMAN ESTATES – Before looking back, Kyle Sommerfield looked forward.
The salutatorian of Huntley High School’s 2014 graduating class tried to envision the myriad paths ahead of the students in front of him. Some were bound for colleges far off. Others would stay closer. Still others would seek jobs or join the armed forces.
“When I stop to think about all the different paths the Class of 2014 will take, it almost seems surreal,” Sommerfield said.
Before they start their journey to adulthood, about 600 graduating Huntley High School seniors collected their diplomas at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Saturday afternoon.
Girls wore red graduation gowns; guys sported black. Pockets of friends and family – told to hold their applause to the end of the long list of names – screamed nonetheless.
Sommerfield, who will head off to Notre Dame next year, eventually turned his attention to his class’ time at the school they are leaving.
“A funny thing happened over the past four years: We’ve grown up,” he said.
Valedictorian Jessica Chalas said that the choice going forward is on the students, to use what they’ve gotten from these four years.
“Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned, the good and the bad, and apply it to the future,” she said.
She urged her classmates to live life like they wish they would’ve lived in high school, and to think about a time, 10 years down the road, when they will ask themselves whether they’ve done their best.
“If the answer is yes, you’ve done your job,” Chalas said.
Principal Scott Rowe added inspiration during his remarks. He asked the class to be active rather than passive and to listen to their inner voice.
“You all have a code of conduct built inside of you,” he said. “Please, listen to it.”