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DeKalb graduates celebrate the 'places they'll go'

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Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com Jonathon Boyd returns to his seat after getting his diploma during the DeKalb High School commencement ceremony at the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center on Saturday, June 8, 2013. About 350 students graduated.

After 12 years of education, they certainly have brains in their heads.

They have feet in their shoes. And on the brink of major life changes, they likely can steer themselves in whatever direction they choose.

With a bit of a Dr. Seuss undertone, DeKalb High School leaders issued about 350 students diplomas Saturday morning at Northern Illinois University's Convocation Center. The ceremony included references to the popular children's book "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

“We are the dreamers, the thinkers, the makers, whether we become teachers or doctors or bakers," graduate Allison Duffin said in a speech.

Graduate Jake Smith said he wants to become a football coach. He plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Stout to study physical education. He played offensive tackle for DeKalb High School and received grants to play football in Wisconsin.

“I'm ready to start a new chapter in my life,” he said.

Senior class president Natalie Sheehan is looking forward to college, too. She plans to study industrial engineering at NIU.

Being from DeKalb, Sheehan originally strayed from choosing NIU because she didn't want to be so close to home. But as researched her options, she realized NIU was a smart decision. She plans to live in a dormitory, but that won't stop her from visiting home.

"[It's] the best of both worlds because I can still go home for dinner,” she said.

Sheehan carried with her plenty of pink post-it notes to give to principal Tamra Ropeter for the school's handling of the senior class prank.

Seniors received approval to cover all of the underclassmen's lockers with Post-it notes, Sheehan said. The next day, many seniors went to school early to see students' reactions, but the school had taken all the sticky notes off the lockers the night before.

The school said the seniors overdid it, Sheehan said, which is why they cleaned everything.

“They were all gone,” Sheehan said. “There was not a single Post-it note on the ground.”

School counselor Dennis Waymire said complimented the graduates' strong work ethic. Waymire's job includes talking to students about their issues and helping them transition to life after high school.

“Some of them have had extremely difficult challenges in life already," Waymire said. "But they are working through them and becoming inspirations for [younger students], adults in the school and the community.”

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