Niles High graduates Class of 2003
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Wendy Simanton, who presented the welcome speech at Niles High School's 2003 graduation ceremony Thursday, probably said exactly what her peers have been thinking for more than just the last few days.
Standing at the podium in the middle of the high school football field with proud parents, friends and relatives watching from the crowded stands, Simanton told her fellow students: "We made it, so sit back and enjoy."
Simanton also shared her thoughts about what the Class of 2003 has been doing, what they have learned and where some of them are going in the future.
She advised her fellow graduates to always look at the glass as "half full," and not "half empty," before giving them her best wishes for the future.
Having said how proud she is to be the principal of the Class of 2003, Betty Perkins, who made a point to say it's the first time in her three-year career as principal that the high school has been able to hold the graduation ceremony outside, introduced the class' graduation speaker.
The three speakers, all female, shared some of their experiences from their time as high school students in Niles.
Jordan Rattenbury, the first student to speak, probably summed up what many of the graduating students were thinking.
She went on to speak about some of the experiences of the Class of 2003, such as excelling in sports, helping the Red Cross, as well as having had a visit by Muhammad Ali.
Rattenbury's closing words challenged her fellow graduates.
Ramya Bhat, the second speaker, spoke of the desire to make the most of life and that people have the power to control their destiny.
She also said realizing at an early stage what you are aiming for makes it easier to work toward that goal.
In the end, she said "What lies behind us and what lies in front of us is not important, it's what lies inside of us that counts."
The third speaker, Margaret Hiatt, like Rattenbury, said the Class of 2003 has accomplished a lot, such as completing 65 finals and attending school for 2,162 days.
Hiatt told her fellow students their future is up to themselves.
Scott Tyler, president of the Niles Community Schools Board of Education, also addressed the Class of 2003.
Drawing inspiration from Kurt Vonnegut, a famous science fiction writer, Tyler spoke about the importance of appreciating life and taking the time to enjoy it during good times.
He also said what most of the students probably already knew.