Every Friday for the last four years at Indian Trail High School and Academy, Noah Reed sang the song “The Road Home” by Stephen Paulus with his Chorale classmates at the school.

Prior to singing it one last time during the commencement ceremony Saturday night, he said it will be what he misses the most.

“It never got old,” said Reed, who will attend Elmhurst College to study nursing, as he waited to enter the fieldhouse to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Reed was among 461 to cross the stage Saturday according to Principal Maria Kotz, who encouraged the graduates to put down their cellphones and “be present in their life.”

“When you are present, you achieve great things,” Kotz said.

Kotz said the class of 2019 includes 73 members of the National Honor Society and 91 students who earned diplomas with distinction. As a class, they earned more than $7.5 million in grants and scholarships.

“Dream big, live big and continue to accomplish great things,” Kotz said.

The commencement included a presentation of the colors by the Kenosha Military Academy Color Guard and banners representing the medical sciences, business, communications and military academies and the comprehensive high school.

Academy valedictorian Sindhu Shankar used a giant deck of cards to perform a symbolic card trick during her commencement address.

Four cards were pulled from the deck to represent the friends, teachers, family and sheer grit needed to reach this point of their lives.

An assistant then ripped the cards in half and pulled one piece out to represent their investment in their futures.

The remaining pieces were shuffled, to represent the changes ahead.

Pieces were pulled out alternately to represent future successes and failures until one piece remained.

This piece symbolized their life goal.

“In the end, every single investment we are putting forth will come back forming a whole complete life,” Shankar said, as she revealed the two pieces representing the investment and the life goal were matching pieces of one card.

High school valedictorian Ruth Daghfal used literary excerpts from several novels, including “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “Lord of the Rings” and “Oh the Places You Will Go” to encourage her classmates to go forward with courage and a sense of adventure, to use their talents and abilities and to not forget where they came from.

And, even though when one door closes, another opens, Daghfal reminded them, “You can open up closed doors. That’s how doors work.”

Prior to awarding the diplomas, Kenosha Unified School District Superintendent Sue Savaglio-Jarvis challenged the class to “lighten the burden of another,” to lose themselves in the service others.

“Remember to share everything,” she said. “Give all that you have to anyone who needs it.”

Crossing the stage was a moment graduate Victoria Campos said took “a lot of hard work.”

“This moment, right now, makes it all worth it,” Campos said. “Our hard work has paid off.”

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