The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Graduation Time - Ending or Beginning?

Jim Clayton, Quill Reporter

It has been said you don't learn anything from a test. A test simply reveals what you already know.

Toward the end of the school year, many seniors at Illini-West High School are preparing to reveal how much they know on their final exams. It is a real irony that as they finish their finals, they will be preparing to commence.

Those same students will be working family farms, finding steady jobs, preparing for college or, as the case of a few, going into the military.

To put it another way, seniors are commencin' (to quote Jed Clampett) to be our future leaders. Eventually, they're going to be in positions that decide what this country will look like in 20 years.

The transitive form of the verb commence means "to enter upon," according to Webster. That is exactly what these young people are preparing to do, enter upon a new life, one they are not yet familiar with nor are they totally sure what to expect.

Three of La Harpe's graduating seniors share their thoughts on graduation and their future.

Senior Robert Tomow knows what he is wants. "I am going to Western (Western Illinois University) and I am going to major in Accounting," he said. "But, first I am going to look for a job."

Tomow's twin brother Phillip Tomow has chosen a different path, "I am going into the Air Force for four years. I was not sure what to do after high school and my older brother is in the Air Force and I have always looked up to him for that," he said. "I can still get my education and if I have any questions I can ask him because he has already been there."

Rick Blumer, another graduating senior has chosen the military as his next step, "I joined the Army and for the next four years I am going to be trained in satellite communications operation and maintenance," said Blumer.

In five years Robert T. said, "I plan on being done with college and looking for a position in the field of accounting. I will be starting a new life."

His brother Phillip said "I will either be re-enlisted in the Air Force or working on becoming a physical education teacher in a rural community, maybe a little bit bigger area than La Harpe, but still rural."

"I plan on still being in the Army, and maybe even starting a family by then," said Blumer.

When reflecting on their high school experience these young men had several different memories.

"I know education is important, but my fondest memory was all the people I got to meet from outside of La Harpe. I was able to widen my circle of friends to include Carthage and Dallas City, that is what I will remember the most," said R. Tomow.

P. Tomow said, "I was very excited about the new school and meeting all the new people, I am not a big fan of school, but I have very good memories of Illini-West."

Blumer said, "I really lost some interest as I got closer to graduation, the teachers did a great job helping me get my education and keep my focus. But my fondest experience has to be painting my body orange with a big blue H on my chest and cheering the IWHS football team on to the state championship in football. I was very hesitant and was not going to do it, but they really needed another letter so I did it and it is one the best experiences of life so far."

From being the reluctant orange man to meeting people that they may never have had the opportunity to meet, these three young men have one thing in common, they are "finally' done and are able to begin revealing what they have learned as they continue on to the next test in their lives.