Polo High grads about to ‘go places’

May 29, 2019

POLO – Even his T-shirt bore the message that Polo Community High School history teacher Jim Cole wanted to convey to the Class of 2019 in his commencement address Sunday afternoon:

“Life is good – go places,” read the gray T-shirt with the image of a bicycle.

Graduation is a rite of passage, Cole said, urging them to approach the future with confidence.

“If you make bad decisions, they can almost always be changed,” he told the 40 soon-to-be graduates. “There’s always another cloverleaf. You can turn around and come back.”

Cole recounted the successes of the class, academically and athletically, and praised them for their civic-mindedness with 12 blood drives and 4 field days for special needs students to their credit.

He also noted their ambitions – 30 percent plan to attend a community college, 40 percent other colleges or universities, 30 percent will join the workforce, and 10 percent will go into military service.

“Who knows where they’re going from here?” he told the packed house.

At the beginning of his speech, Cole handed senior Cassie Bushman his cellphone with the stop watch activated and told her to let him know when 10 minutes were up.

After at least twice that long, Cole checked on the time and Bushman informed him the phone had locked up, drawing a laugh from the crowd.

“Life is made up of so many good things. Like today – you’re in a room filled with people who love you,” he told the class in closing. “With this kind of life behind you, I feel confident that you will never let life get you down.”

Cole was chosen by the class to be the commencement speaker.

Valedictorian Lane Hopkins also expressed confidence in his classmates’ abilities and praised the competitive spirit of the class.

“Because of this I know everyone on this stage is capable of great things,” he said.

Hopkins plans to join the Marine Corps Intelligence Division.

Classmates Hayden Bittinger and Kyle Brown welcomed guests to the commencement ceremony and also voiced praise for the class.

“I’m proud of how far we’ve come,” Bittinger said. “This is a remarkable group of people.”

Brown, the salutatorian, called his classmates hard-working but fun-loving.

“We will always do the work but we will find some way to make it enjoyable.”

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