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The Class of 2016 tosses their caps in celebration of graduating on May 14, 2016.

BETHALTO - Filled with joy, love, determination and hope for their futures, Civic Memorial High School’s graduating class of 2016 completed one chapter and began another in the grand book of life.

Saturday on the date of their commencement exercises, the class of 2016 entered the gymnasium for the ceremony for the last time as students and exited the building as alumni.

Marched in by a performance of Pomp and Circumstance by the Civic Memorial High School Band, led by Director Brittany McFall, the seniors entered the school’s gymnasium and took their seats to proceed with the commencement exercise.

National Honor Society President Sarah Fields accepts her diploma. She will head to the University of Alabama this fall.After the Pledge of Allegiance, led by military-bound graduates and the singing of the school song, led by Salutatorian Morgan Watkins, Sarah Fields, President of the National Honor Society, kicked off the commencement with the introductions to the dais.

Charles Stegall, Superintendent of Bethalto School District, took some inspiration from Kool and the Gang and told the students to “celebrate good times, come on.”

Mayor Alan Winslow, who presides over the Village of Bethalto, reminded the students of the community not to take time for granted, and that these moments that they shared in high school should be cherished forever.

Andrew Matthews, Senior Class President, kept his speech for the class of 2016 quite light, but at the same time embraced the magnitude of what challenges there are to come.  

In these excerpts from his address, Matthews mentions the unbreakable bonds between classmates, those dreaded (or beloved) ‘joke of the day’ announcements and much more:

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"First of all, guys, congratulations, because whether we admit it to ourselves or not, graduating high school is a really big deal and we’re awesome for making it this far. So, will you give yourself a pat on the back?"

"Nothing else in high school has really ever felt permanent except for one thing: our classmates. We’ve gone through all of these differences and we’re all permanently bonded through these experiences we’ve shared."

"It’s been one heck of a time here at CM, and I’ve enjoyed myself to the extent that someone can enjoy high school. Whether it was waking up early in the mornings, stressing about finals, homecoming or prom, or just groaning at the ‘joke of the day,’ –oh, I mean laughing at the ‘joke of the day’ – we all went through high school together. The fact that everyone around you is going through the exact same thing always makes it feel better."

"Sometimes it seems insignificant, but we dedicated four years of our lives here to earn this diploma and that does mean something."

"To leave you with some advice, hear this: have faith. Have faith not only in yourself, but also have faith in those around you. You might find someone whose become successful by themselves, but you’ll never find someone who feels successful by themselves. Be aware of who you are, but be just as aware of the people who are around you and you can’t go wrong."

The Class of 2016, surrounded by friends, family, CMHS faculty & staff, to celebrate their graduation. Student Council President Kathryn O'Brien presented her address for the final time after years of fundraising, organizing and implementing events around the school. 

With time feeling ever so infinite for these graduating seniors, the musical selection performed by the CMHS Choir, led by Brenda Woefel, put the whole night into perspective.

CMHS Principal Justin Newell was ecstatic to see the class of 2016 evolve from first meeting them while he served as Dean of Students at Trimpe Middle School. He was also excited to honor Dylan Cooper as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2016. 

As Five for Fighting’s hit song 100 Years states, “half time goes by, suddenly you’re wise. Another blink of an eye, 67 is gone. The sun is getting high, we’re moving on.”

The Class of 2016 is moving on, wiser than ever, with the entire world at their fingertips. Congratulations to all of Civic Memorial's graduates!

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