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Raising the bar: SHS Class of 2019 continues school’s upward trend

BY CODY CUTTER ccutter@saukvalley.com 815-625-3600, ext. 5552 @CodyCutter35May 27, 2019

STERLING – Much mention was made during last year’s Sterling High School graduation about how the Class of 2018 broke records and achieved feats not done before by past classes.

Sterling’s Class of 2019 has raised the bar.

Making up a historic class and receiving diplomas Sunday were 238 graduates, 37 of whom are National Honor Society members, plus 19 who are Illinois State Scholars, and 15 who are Advanced Placement scholars.

Principal Jason Austin and his administrative team expanded the opportunities for AP coursework in recent years, and said this year’s class rose to the challenge. The class contributed to a 3-year record of more than 1,300 Advanced Placement exams through their sophomore, junior and senior years.

“During the last 4 years, the Class of 2019 has had many great performances,” Austin said. “These performances have taken place in our athletic fields, in the Centennial Auditorium, and, of course, in the classrooms of Sterling High School.”

Austin recited a long list accomplishments by this year’s seniors: Sterling won its second straight Northern Illinois Big 12 All Sports Championship, made its 21st consecutive appearance at the Illinois High School Association Group Interpretation meet, its seventh straight trip to the state contest play, back-to-back state semifinal appearances in football, a Class 3A state championship in volleyball, and both a 2A state title and national honors in chess competition. 

“These students leave Sterling High School a better place than they found it,” Austin said.

Class President Trevor Carrell and his twin brother, Hunter, were among nine AP scholars, Illinois State Scholars, and National Honor Society members, with a grade-point average higher than 3.5. 

“Our education at Sterling High School is among the best education of all,” Trevor Carrell said. “It is recognized nationally, and it gives our teachers, staff, and donors the will and determination to provide our community with quality education that prepares us for the world.”

Student Council President Connor Bland, who also was Superintendent Tad Everett’s student liaison, thanked those who shaped his 4 years of high school, whether it was through academics, athletics of volunteer work.

“Sterling High School has provided my life with such amazing opportunities, opportunities that have led to many successes,” Bland said. “Sterling High School is full of teachers, administrators and faculty members of all sorts whose determination, passion and kindness are what makes our opportunities possible. 

“The Class of 2019 really is an amazing class, full of talented, hardworking people.”

Departments awards were presented to Amber Kuhn, English; Anna Mohr, music; Zaina Rumbolz, math; Nathaniel Stout, social studies; and Sierra Villarreal, science.

Everett asked students to consider the efforts and sacrifices their parents have made to shape their lives and build successes. 

“Each of us remembers it like it was yesterday. Since that day, we’ve given every one of our children every ounce of our time, our energy, our sleep, and our money,” Everett said.

“Now you are graduates. No differently than the day you were born, today is a brand new beginning. You have the world in front of you.”

Everett closed with offering four important pieces of advice to the class: learn from mistakes, serve others other than yourself, work hard, and be a warrior.

“You know what, don’t be a warrior – be a Golden Warrior,” Everett said.

“It doesn’t matter where you start, or where you end up. Don’t dream your dreams, live your dreams. That journey starts today.” 

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