FRANKFORT — Lincoln-Way East High School seniors graduated Wednesday and presented a class gift to the board – a new welcome sign that read “Home of the Griffins.”
The new welcoming sign was presented by senior class officers Kiley Meade, Glenn Harris, Logan Wallace, Danielle Burkman, Emilee Caldwell, Michael Vieni, Raj Patel and Nicholas Miranda.
The class officers at East also designed a blue and gold yin and yang pin that “represents the blending of the [Lincoln-Way North High School] Phoenix and the Griffin,” said Meade, class president. North closed this school year and students from the school transitioned to East.
“It shows that one can’t live without the other,” said Harris, also a class president.
East Principal Sharon Michalak opened the ceremony by welcoming the families and friends of the Class of 2017. She acknowledged the many accomplishments of the students, including the 136 Illinois State Scholars, the class’s commitment to community service, as well as the conference, regional, sectional, and state champion statuses that were achieved in the school year.
“It is because of your courage, your leadership, your effort, attitude, spirit and teamwork, that we have become a better school. I hope you take with you these experiences and be thankful for every new challenge that will occur in your lives, because they will build your strength and character,” Michalak said.
The merging of high school cultures was referenced in multiple ways throughout the night. Many graduates wore tassels made of both blue and gold, representing the colors of Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way North. Graduation gowns worn by students and faculty were also pinned with the yin and yang designed by class officers.
“Take with you the heart of a Phoenix, the strength of a Griffin, to face every new challenge courageously and with confidence,” Michalak said.
Meade also addressed the students, saying how quickly high school had gone by, thanked staff who had helped her throughout her four years, and also referenced the spirit of her classmates throughout the Lincoln-Way transition.
“We were faced with a difficult situation, yet we managed to make it an opportunity to form new relationships that have become to mean more to us than a building once did. I truly believe that this change impacted many of our lives for the better, because the connections you form with people are seemingly priceless,” Meade said.