Lincoln-Way East graduates Class of 2018
Thursday, May 31, 2018

On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, senior Griffins filed across the stage to collect their diplomas and shake hands with school board members, Superintendent Dr. R. Scott Tingley and Principal Dr. Sharon Michalak.

Shortly before the ceremony, the 2018 student officers presented the class gift to the Board of Education. The students chose an engraved boulder and landscaping located at the front entrance of the school, near the auditorium. The engraving states, “Lincoln-Way East, Dreams and Dedication are a Powerful Combination,” with the quote attributed to William Longgood.

The Class of 2018 was then led to the stadium by Senior Class Officers Watfae Zayed, Cassidy Stolarek, Matthew Dunlap, Amber Lemmons, Dominic Tagler and Grace Casey. Principal Michalak opened the ceremony by welcoming the families and friends of the Class of 2018. The National Anthem was sung by seniors Emily Baker, Samantha Grobmeier, Brendon McCray and Ashley Williams. The National Anthem was followed by Michalak’s address to the graduating seniors. She acknowledged the many accomplishments of the Griffins, including the 154 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 2017-2018 school year.

Michalak thanked the students for their effort, attitude, spirit and teamwork. She quoted Winston Churchill, telling the students, “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.” She also encouraged students to continue to choose happiness in their futures. “Decide that each day is going to be great and grab each moment and make the best of it,” she said, quoting author Charity Richey-Bentley.

Class President Grace Casey then addressed her fellow graduates by discussing the many journeys that had led the students to graduation night. She discussed how quickly high school had gone by and also referenced the spirit of her classmates throughout the Lincoln-Way transition. “We learned change can be a good thing if we go into it with an open mind. [We learned] that everything happens for a reason and we wouldn’t be the people we are today without this experience.”

Board of Education Vice President Joe Kosteck then took to the podium to recognize the graduating class. He said, “Watching the parade of seniors pass by, handing out diplomas, and shaking your hands–this is by far the highlight of our year as board of education members. As you walk by, we see the product of hard work and a job well done, but we also see kindness, hope and perseverance. We see musicians, artists, athletes, mathematicians, scientists, future trades people, activists and volunteers, just to name a few. The Lincoln Way East Class of 2018, along with the graduating classes of Central and West have the highest graduation rate, the highest composite ACT score, the most advanced placement test takers, and the most college credits earned of any class in our district’s history. Class of 2018, you are ready to begin the next part of the journey.”

Before students filed across stage to receive their diplomas, Superintendent Dr. R. Scott Tingley addressed the graduates in attendance. “To the young men and women in front of me this evening, your best years are ahead of you, as most likely are your greatest challenges,” he said. “It is my sincere hope that your experiences at Lincoln-Way have helped prepare you for all of life’s challenges and success.”

At the conclusion of the Lincoln-Way Alma Mater, the Griffins threw their graduation caps in celebration as friends, family and faculty cheered in support.