Niles Class of 2004 turn tassels, begin new life chapter

Published 3:26 pm Friday, May 28, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- As the Niles High School Class of 2004 turned their tassels to the left and threw their caps into the air, there was an overwhelming feeling of excitement for the next chapter of their lives.
The family and friends of the 224 graduating seniors packed the Niles High School gym for the class commencement ceremony on Thursday evening.
Jessica Krassow, who was the first speaker from the Class of 2004, reflected on her first days of high school four years ago.
She talked about how the experiences and relationships of high school helped to transform them into young adults they are today and how they should now look forward to the future.
Andrew Whitten, the second speaker, gave some brief remarks on the significance of taking that next step in life and then picked up his violin to leave the class with a rendition of "Ashokan Farewell."
The third speaker Jacob Mucha compared graduating from high school to taking your first step as a toddler. "Whatever path we choose we must remind ourselves not to be afraid to take that step. It is an inevitable and unfortunate truth that some of us will fall. Others will stumble and still more of us will take off running," Mucha said. "Whatever life sets in front of you, I would just ask that we continually work to keep our minds and hearts focused on nothing more than that next step."
He said that by obtaining this diploma it shows that they are all capable of something.
Jessica Cornelius presented the school with the gift from the Class of 2004, a quote from Mother Teresa that will now be placed within the halls of Niles High School forever.
But after the ceremony, the emotions of many of the students' parents were bittersweet. They were proud to see their children's hard work pay off, but also reluctant to see them move on to the next phase of their lives.
Cheri Hughes, mother of senior Ashley Hughes, who will be going on to study nursing at Southwestern Michigan College, expressed her mixed feelings about seeing her daughter grow up.
Pat Boelcke, mother of Allison Boelcke, who will be going on to study journalism at Holy Cross University, shared these mixed feelings.
Tracy Miller, mother of two graduates Jessicca and Jenifer Miller, who both plan to attend the Art Institute of Chicago, said graduation is affecting her more than her daughters so far.
Shortly after graduation, the Class of 2004 piled into buses and prepared for their Project Graduation field trip. Last night, the group went to places like Galaxy Roller Rink and Beacon Bowl. This morning the graduates will be surprised to hear the news that Project Graduation will be taking them to Cedar Point for the day.