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BRAINARD - Twenty-six East Butler Public Schools seniors accepted diplomas and took a big step forward in life Saturday, May 12, during the school's annual commencement ceremony held in Brainard.

Virtually any graduating senior will say the four years spent in high school flew by, perhaps even too quickly. It’s a process where incoming freshmen start at the bottom of the totem pole and slowly but surely make their way into the realms of being upperclassmen, pretty much running the show.

Addressing the gathered crowd, Valedictorian Jacob Janak reflected on the progression he and his peers have made throughout the years. Starting as kids, growing into teens and soon, tackling new adventures and opportunities as adults.

“Flashback four years ago and we were the clueless freshmen who were running through the halls trying to get to the next class on time,” Janak said. “Now we are the seniors who ‘own’ the school, but our time has come to stop ‘owning’ the school and move on to bigger and better things.”

On the way to reaching bigger and better things, Janak highlighted how many important teachers, role models and parents inserted themselves into students’ lives in an effort to help them achieve the best versions of themselves.

And though these role models and mentors played a large role in helping each and every student cross the ultimate finish line that graduation represents, perhaps more than anything, Janak believes he and his classmates were influenced by the great peers they were surrounded by every day they passed through the East Butler hallways.

“Each of you made my high school experience one to remember even if we only talked for a few minutes or for years,” he said. “I still enjoyed every single minute with you guys and I will miss coming to school and seeing each and every one of you.”

He encouraged the graduating class to leave commencement Saturday afternoon feeling like they can take life like a bull by the horns.

“Everyone in the crowd here today wants to see us succeed and it’s our duty as students from the Class of 2018 to prove them they weren’t wrong,” Janak said.

Sam Pimper is the news editor for the Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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