41 end school chapter, begin rest of life's story

Doug Boock
Jill Johnson (center) hugs classmates Karly Johnston (left) and Lexy Rux after walking out of the Galva High School gym, where a few minutes earlier they graduated from the school Sunday afternoon.

Supt. Jim Hochstatter offered three bits of wisdom Sunday to the Galva High School Class of 2008:

1) Always be honest

2) Always treat people with respect

3) Life is short. Make the most of it.

Doing those three things, Hochstatter urged, will make life much better.

A few minutes later, 41 graduating seniors filed out of the GHS gym, perhaps beginning to put those words into practice. They were taking their first steps into post-high school life.

"When you walk out of those doors today, you have a whole new life ahead of you," Hochstatter told the graduates, members of the 133rd graduating class at Galva High School.

He added that each graduate starts with a new slate - those who performed well in the past have to re-establish themselves now, and those who didn't perform well can now change that, by starting anew.

Hochstatter's thoughts were somewhat mirrored by those of the four graduates who also spoke during the ceremony.

Valedictorian Nick Ballard thanked all those who have supported the class through the years. He chose to honor them by refraining from the usage of quotes from well-known people such as a civil rights leader, president or philosopher.

"Their impact on our lives is dwarfed by the impact of people around us," he explained.

Ballard, who plans to study at Bradley University, also expressed thanks for the "limits" supporters placed upon himself and his classmates, noting those guidelines helped lead them to better paths.

Ultimately, though, Ballard said, the graduates need to "take the wheel and become captains of our own future."

Salutatorian Kaitlin Ballard, Nick's cousin, said she wanted to "speak from the heart and not be too corny" during her speech.

She noted she'd wanted to avoid the traditional look back at the K-12 years, but had changed her mind after realizing that such a review is "really why we're here today."

Ballard, who will study at North Central College, acknowledged that leaving high school is "quite scary." But she noted that the fear is "minimal" compared to the excitement which accompanies it.

Members of the Galva High School Class of 2008 are:

Rebecca Anderson, Kaitlin Ballard, Nicholas Ballard, Steven Bates, Sara Boland, Amanda Carroll, Brooke Cart, Kelsey Cochran, Jessica Confair, Rachel Fargher, Nathan Felt, Ryan Felt, Jeffrey Gerard and Samantha Hainline.

Also, Alex Johnson, Brandon Johnson, Jill Johnson, Karly Johnston, Seth Kelly, Tamara Kempin, Christina McBride, Cortnie McClintic, Ross McIntire, Alexa Mertens, Taylor Milliken, Zachery Mlekush, Stephanie Moehring and Daniel Malloy.

Also, Andrew Price, Trevor Robbins, Krystal Rohrig, Mark Roper, Alexandria Rux, Brien Sanders, Ashley Siegel, Karla Sterling, Scott Swanson, Chelsea Thompson, Hannah Torbert, Samuel VanWassenhove and Jacob Wright.

Members of the Galva High School Class of 2008 toss their caps into the air after moving their tassels at the conclusion of Sunday's 133rd commencement at the school.