Northbrook Junior High’s Class of 2023 began their middle school experience in the midst of the pandemic. As the 192 graduates stood onstage in front of family members, their royal blue gowns reflected the resiliency and optimism that have helped prepare them for high school.
Student speaker Erin Clarke recalled what it was like to enter a middle school during COVID when it was difficult to get to know each other wearing face masks and staying 6 feet apart.
“While trying to adapt to the new normal, we learned patience, flexibility, and resilience. We gave each other elbow high fives, and we had virtual assemblies, but most importantly, we learned the true meaning of gratitude…. We learned to grant each other grace during difficult times, and to hopefully, give that same compassion to ourselves,” she said.
In closing, she said, “Be kind to each other, support one another, and check in on your friends. Adventure awaits us. Let us journey into these next four years with curiosity, hope, and courage.”
Twelve students were recognized by being nominated for the American Legion Citizenship Award by their teachers. Nominations are based on the character qualities of courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service. The following students were nominated: Brady Andrews, Connor Chung, Erin Clarke, Jack Dawson, Ariella Dobin, Nate Fridman,Taylor Gichner, and Alison Porta.
Receiving Honorable Mention were: Sami Abrams and Shawn Syed.
Receiving Distinguished Achievement were: Janey Seay and Landon Burton.
Also recognized at the ceremony were the Glenbrook North graduating seniors who received $1,500 Homer O. Harvey Scholarships: Elizabeth Alcorn, Michael Bilous, Addison Cha, Michael Dimoff, Zoey Godnik, Natalie Hong, Kathryn Leverenz, Jessica Luna, Ellie Pavletich and Ryan Shanahan.
Since 1989, the first year of the fund, there has been $367,500 awarded to 398 Northbrook Junior High and Glenbrook North High School graduates. The primary fundraiser for this scholarship fund is the annual HOH5K and Fun Run, held on the first Saturday of May. In 2023, more than 300 participated and there were multiple local business sponsors.
In addressing his 191 classmates, student speaker Connor Chung focused on the future of possibilities. “Class of 2023, throughout the countless highs and lows of high school, make it happen. Embrace high school’s challenges with unwavering determination and you will climb even the tallest of mountains.”
Northbrook Junior High Principal Dr. Scott Meek closed the ceremony with an address to the graduates.
“Your charge now is to go and find your sense of purpose, gain your independence, find your voice, and continue to impact the world around you,” Dr. Meek said.