Case in Point

Seniors deliver memorable Durant & Wilton commencement speeches


I write about it nearly every year. May is certainly one of the, if not THE busiest month here at the Advocate News. Recent success of spring sports teams has only added to the craziness for me in the past few years.
On Thursday and Friday of last week I spent nearly nine hours in a car, traveling to and from state track in Des Moines, and then to and from rural Wapello for District boys’ golf on Friday. Saturday, I attended a political forum at the Cedar County Courthouse, and Sunday I attended both Durant and Wilton’s commencement ceremonies.
In other words, a typical weekend.
It’s a travesty that area student-athletes have to go right from the state track meet finishing on a Saturday to starting baseball and softball seasons the following Monday. Or how about the golfers? They spend weeks doing limited work in baseball and softball practices due to finishing their golf seasons. And if any of them make postseason play — as several did in Wilton and Durant — they are still playing golf tournaments when games are set to begin.
It’s wrong. The state athletic unions know it. Sadly, it’s the world we live in and nothing will change.
Sunday afternoon, as I was hurrying from one commencement to the next, I was wondering how to put a whirlwind of a week into some editorial perspective. I was then captivated by two area graduation speeches. The first was from Durant homecoming queen and valedictorian Amanda Wiese as she addressed her fellow DHS classmates for the last time. The second was Wilton’s Kirsten Jurgersen, senior class president who went from winning homecoming queen to being named the WHS 2018 Outstanding Senior, to giving a great closing speech at graduation.
I asked these two outstanding young ladies to share their speeches with me so that I could share them with our readers. What follows are their wonderful closing remarks (Amanda then Kirsten) to fellow classmates:

Hello and thank you all for being here. And to the class of 2018, our day has finally come. The endless hours we have spent in this gym between practices, concerts and pep rallies have all been leading up to this last hour together. I remember freshman year thinking this day would never come, but now in the blink of an eye here we are. We survived hundreds of down and backs during basketball season, countless hours memorizing lines for plays and having picked up more pieces of trash at Wildcat Den than we can count.
It’s crazy to think that we’ll never walk into the lunch room again to the seats that we’ve had for four years or have to walk a mile to seminar racing against the bell. As the years have gone by, we’ve all shared so many experiences together that we’ll cherish forever. It’s hard to imagine that this day is finally upon us. It seems like just yesterday we were shopping for our first homecoming dresses and the boys were preparing for their first football game. We have always put our best foot forward, even though we didn’t always come out on top. Actually, we never came out on top, but that’s OK because it taught us to give 100 percent in everything that we did. In all seriousness, I know this class is capable of bigger and better things, this is just the beginning.
We’ve been through so much together and I can’t wait to see where everyone goes. In 20 years we may not remember the quadratic formula, but we have memories that will last a lifetime. From Michael’s sick dance moves during prom and Battle of the Bands to the boys finally winning macho volleyball, it’s been quite the ride.
To all of the teachers, we can’t thank you enough. You have all been nothing short of exceptional. We pushed your limits as far as we could and you never flinched. From learning about weather with Mrs. Frett to trying to master punnett squares with Mrs. Smith, you have all shown us what we’re capable of, even when we thought it was impossible. And trust me, we all thought we reached the impossible when Mrs. Straube introduced proofs, but somehow we all managed to figure it out. So again, on behalf of the class, I’d like to thank all of the teachers for never backing down from the challenge that our class is.
And to the parents, now is the time to get your tissues out. In all honesty, you have all been with us through thick and thin. We cannot thank you enough for being by our sides throughout these last 18 years. You have been some of the best role models that we could have asked for, and have raised some pretty awesome kids. Each and everyone of you means the world to us, and now it’s time for us to show you how your hard work has paid off.
To wrap this up, I’d like to again congratulate the class of 2018. It hasn’t been easy, but somehow we got through it. As we set off on our separate ways, whether it be college, the military or right into the workforce, we’re all off to great things. This class is nothing short of extraordinary. Thank you.
Amanda Wiese
DHS Valedictorian

Good afternoon, parents, friends, family, our amazing faculty and soon to be graduates. I am truly honored to be up here speaking in front of you today.
A little over 13 years ago, I was 5 years old, walking up the steps to my very first day of kindergarten. As I walked in those doors I can remember being so excited for what was to come, mostly just for that day though. I had no idea about the implications of the long journey I was about to begin. If someone had told me back in elementary school that I would be up here speaking on behalf of my class, that shy little girl would have never believed them, but here I am doing just that. The thought of giving this speech was all and well until it came time to actually begin writing it. Every time I went to begin writing, I would hit a wall. I simply did not know how to put my thoughts into words about all of the emotions that each of us are feeling and about all of the things that the class of 2018 has done and will do. I didn’t want to undermine who we all are, as individuals and as a graduating class.
1,370 days ago we walked into the brick building of Wilton High School for the first time as freshmen, and today we will walk out of this building as new graduates. As we look left and right at our peers next to us and think about all of the memories that we share together, those are the things you will remember. You will forget about all of the exams and papers you had to write, but what you won’t forget are the people next to you and the memories made with them.
We definitely could not have made it here today without one another and everyone else that has been there to support us through all of the steps we’ve taken; our parents, families, teachers, coaches, mentors, administrators, everyone. I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done.
Graduating means using all of the information and the lessons we have learned throughout our time here to be successful and give back to the community that we have been blessed to call home. Yet for most of us recalling the 14th president or what the derivative of 5x4 is, is not the education that will really make you change this world. By the way, it was Franklin Pierce and 20x cubed. What will make you change this world is leaving those with whom you have crossed paths, with a little more happiness and a little more hope.
As we look to the future, I would like to read a song by Rascal Flatts that truly captures my wish for everyone of you.
I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you wanna go,
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ til you find the window,
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.
I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you live,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
You find God’s grace, in every mistake,
And always give more than you take.
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
But more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to.
The future that each of us holds doesn’t lie ahead of us, waiting to happen, it rather lies deep inside of us, waiting to be discovered and I truly cannot wait to see what type of greatness you discover.
So, it is with great joy and deep pride that I present to you, the class of 2018.
Kirsten Jurgersen
WHS Senior Class President