NBJH Class of 2019 Embarks on Next Journey

NBJH Class of 2019 Embarks on Next Journey
Posted on 06/06/2019
Pledge of Allegiance

On June 4, 207 eighth-grade students of Northbrook Junior High walked across the stage at Glenbrook North High School, received their diplomas and began the next phase in their life as high school students.

Perhaps the most momentous walk across the stage was for Emily Duff, who has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair. She works with a physical therapist, an adaptive P.E. teacher and private therapist, walking with a walker or with crutches three days a week, and with the help of her parents on the weekends.

 Emily Duff leaves her wheelchair in the wings as she prepares to walk across the stage.

“In sixth grade we started planning,” Emily said. And walk she did, to an auditorium filled with applause and encouragement.

“Emily walking across the stage was a culmination of hard work, goal-setting and perseverance over the last three years,” said Dr. Heather Schultz, assistant director of student services for grades 6-8.

Watch the videos from NBC5-Chicago and WGN-TV, who were there to share Emily's story. 

Before diplomas were handed out, four students were recognized for their leadership when the Rotary Volunteer Service Award and American Legion Awards were presented.

Dr. Hewitt presents David Gichner with the Northbrook Rotary Volunteer Service Award

David Gichner received the Northbrook Rotary Volunteer Service Award, presented by Superintendent Dr. Larry Hewitt for extraordinary work in the spirit of volunteerism and the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.”

Students who received the American Legion Awards
Each year, teachers nominate students for the American Legion Citizenship Award for best representing the character qualities of courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service. A total of 16 students were nominated, and four students were presented with awards:  Carly Fernitz and Jack Gaffney (left) received Honorable Mention awards and Zoey Kenny and David Gichner received Distinguished Achievement awards.

Student speakers are also selected by teachers based on essays they submit. Felicia Pace reflected on the class’s experience over the last three years and making lifelong memories from day one.

 Felicia Pace

“On August 23rd, 2016, you walked in and today you walk out, having grown, having developed, and having made memories that will last you for a lifetime. And those eighth-graders who once seemed so tall? We don’t seem so tall anymore.”

 Ryan Kreiter

Ryan Kreiter asked his classmates to draw on the strength and courage that transformed them from anxious, excited and terrified sixth-graders to confident eighth-graders. “When going into high school, we all need to embrace our differences and make them the first thing that steps into those big doors before we do. It’s going to be our individuality that will be our key to success.”

 Dr. Larry Hewitt

In addressing the graduates Dr. Hewitt said, ”You will have all kinds of wonderful clouds in your life and when the occasional storm cloud comes, remember – look for the silver lining and you’ll be better because of it.”

 Dr. Meek congratulates his son, Aidan

NBJH Principal Dr. Scott Meek said in presenting the class of 2019, “The challenge I pose to you is this: Don’t settle for anything less than your best effort. Surround yourself with people who believe in you…and believe in yourself….Just remember that the small sacrifices you make along your journey lead to much larger rewards in the end.”