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Graduates Urged To Work Hard, Be Kind, And Think Positive

Graduates at Triad High School joined others throughout the Metro East this weekend to celebrate commencement exercises and a new chapter in their lives. Photo by Steve Rensberry

By Steve Rensberry, Editor

Just over 250 graduating seniors at Triad High School received their diplomas this past weekend, on May 19, during the school’s 60th Annual Commencement exercises.

Highlights included a prelude by the Triad High School Band, with the customary playing of “Pomp and Circumstances,” led by Band Director Kevin Devany.

The entrance by graduating seniors and triad district faculty was following by some words of welcome from THS Principal Dr. Rodney Winslow, and a moment of silence in memory of Dominick Luchesi and Jonas Scharadan.

The reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance was led by senior class officers Elliot Siekmann (vice president), Zachary Tonn (secretary), and Melissa Atkins (treasurer).

Senior Class President Alexandra Peneston spoke next, followed by Student Council President Molly Suess. Senior members of the Triad Chorus, led by Linda Remiger, sang “Remember Me,” a song of dedication.

Parents and relatives of the students applauded at several times throughout the ceremony to show their appreciation, with recognition given to military service members, accomplished students, and others.

Superintendent Leigh Lewis introduced members of the board of education and addressed the students before introducing keynote speaker Dawn Mushill.

Recalling a quote that was popular in the 70s — “It’s nice to be nice to be nice” — Lewis said it’s easy to be nice to people who are nice to you, but much more difficult to show kindness to those who are no. “Always choose kindness,” she said. “I want to challenge you today to be nice to those who are not nice.”

Lewis also stressed the importance of working hard.

“If you want friends, you have to work hard to build relationships. If you want good health, you have to work hard to avoid bad habits, and find good ones. If want to be the best at something, you have to work hard at improving. If you want success, you have to work hard to achieve it. It’s hard work, preserverance, and a can-do attitude, that will lead you to accomplishing your goals.”

Mushill is not only a Triad grad herself, but an author, keynote speaker, and director of the Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce — which she has directed for 19 years. She holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees, having attended Southwestern Illinois College (where she serves on the faculty), Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and Western University.

Speaking about people who may discourage you from fulfilling your dreams, Mushill cited an incident in her own life as a teenager, when she was told she would never do anything more than waitress for the rest of her life.

“Surround yourself with people who get you, and want you to succeed. You define what success means,” Mushill said.  “Do not spend time with those who are not on your side.”

Troy Mayor Al Adomite was among those she cited who have inspired her. Adomite is a Triad graduate and was recently accepted in the University of Illinois’ program to work on his doctorate in public administration.

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