137 Cogs ready to be part of world
GENOA – Jasmine Harris and Jim Kline, both of Genoa, said that what they loved the most about attending Genoa-Kingston High School was the small town atmosphere and that everybody was able to know one another.
Harris was one of the 137 students that graduated Sunday from Genoa-Kingston High School, 980 Park Ave. in Genoa, during its 138th annual commencement exercise.
Kline graduated from the high school 50 years ago as part of the class of 1969, which was honored during Sunday’s graduation ceremony. Twenty-one of the class’s 92 students were in attendance.
“Genoa-Kingston High School prepared me well for the rest of my life,” Kline said. “What’s great about attending a small school is that everyone knows each other. We have a lot of good memories together.”
“High school was an experience we won’t forget, full of lots of good memories with friends,” Harris said. “It’s so surreal that graduation day is actually here.”
Assistant principal Tessa Aiossa couldn’t keep a smile from her face as she described the excitement of graduation day.
“It’s a great day, a day the students have been working toward for many years,” Aiossa said. “The students are going on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers and are going into the military and into trades. We look forward to all of the exciting things to come from them in the future.”
Graduating senior Kaylee Wolfe of Kingston will attend Bradley University in the fall to study accounting, finance and pre-law.
“I’m so excited to be graduating, we’ve all been waiting for this day for years,” Wolfe said. “I’m looking forward to getting out there and meeting people, people I haven’t grown up with forever. Although I’m leaving for college, I still have family and friends here. I’ll definitely come back to visit.”
Graduation day was also bittersweet for parents. Erin Zweifel of Genoa described her son Hunter’s graduation day as “a bittersweet and exciting day for everyone.”
“We’re looking forward to the future,” Zweifel said. “He’s no longer my baby, he’s a man now. He’s going off to college and will be independent. Who knows what the future holds?”
During her graduation speech, senior class president Sydni Stoffregen honored classmate Austin Smith, who died Aug. 25, 2015, during their freshman year.
“High school is about the memories we share and the relationships that will continue on the rest of our lives,” Stoffregen said. “We all know each other and have been there for each other. We mourned and came together as a whole.”
During her speech, senior class vice president Rachel Younker gave the definition of a cog, Genoa-Kingston’s High School’s mascot. The Class of 2019’s gift to the school is a sign with that definition on it, which will hang for visitors to see.
“A cog is a part of a team or machine, an instrumental part of the whole,” Younker said. “A cog truly represents Genoa-Kingston [High School]. Each one of us is a cog, a part of something bigger than ourselves. … We have to remember who we are and where we came from. We are all cogs, we have to continue to be a cog wherever we go.”
Barbara Andree, a 1969 graduate of the school who now lives in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, said that 50 years later, she’s proud to be a Cog and has lifelong friends from her school days.
“If I could give any advice to the graduating class, it would be to continue to learn and study their whole life, don’t stop now,” Andree said. “It’s important to always be thirsty for new ideas and be willing to learn.”