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Future becomes now for Genoa-Kingston graduates

GENOA – Trace Feliciano doesn’t know what’s next for him after graduating from Genoa-Kingston High School, but he does know that he can’t wait for whatever comes his way.

“I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but I’m excited to see what’s in store,” he said. “I’m going to take a few classes at [Kishwaukee College] to see what I like, but other than that I don’t know. I do know we’re all moving on to better things. We were a great class, and I had a great time in high school.”

Feliciano was one of the 142 high school seniors who received their diplomas at Sunday’s commencement ceremony. Brett McPherson, principal of Genoa-Kingston High School, said the graduates were part of a “great class” who had a lot of accomplishments. He said he will miss seeing them in the hallways.

“It’s exciting for their next step,” he said. “It’s a celebration because they had a great four years, but they’re ready to move on. I’ve watched them grow over the last four years, and they worked hard.”

Edith Mercado is looking forward to attending Elmhurst College to major in biology, but said she’s sad to leave all of her friends.

“I feel very accomplished and happy,” she said. “It’s been a long four years, and we’ve been through a lot together. I’ll miss the faculty because they’re the best role models out there.”

Math teacher Ethan Franklin said that this year’s graduating class was very involved with school activities, and that he will miss them.

“They’re a fun group,” he said. “It was great to see them grow over the years. We work hard as a staff to get them where they need to go.”

Student council President Misty Villagomez reminded the graduates in her speech that they were all there for each other, through the good times and the tough times. She said that she’s sad to leave all of her friends when she moves to Chicago to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“I like the small-town feel. Everyone knows everyone,” she said. “The teachers are so supportive. They’re laid back, but they definitely got us ready for college.”

Alan Franson is hoping to play football at Northern Illinois University in the fall. He said playing on Genoa-Kingston’s football team was one of his favorite parts of high school.

“It feels good to finish. I’m sad, but also happy to pass the torch on to the next class,” he said. “Genoa-Kingston is one of the best environments you can ask for. I have a lot of great memories here. Our entire class was very close-knit.”

Caitlyn Harris is ready to enter the workforce. She said she’s excited for the “adult world.”

“I’m happy that it’s done, but I enjoyed my time here. We had a close class,” she said.

Ivan Marquez will attend Kishwaukee College in hopes of earning his collision repair degree to work in an auto body shop. He described graduating from high school as “amazing.”

“I feel like I finally accomplished something in life,” he said. “I had a great time here. It was a very positive atmosphere all four years.”

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