245 bid farewell to high school

The Princeton High School gymnasium is usually home to the Tigers.

But on Friday, June 1 it was a great big moose who likes to drink a lot of juice that was getting the attention of the Class of 2012 and its guests.

Let us explain.

Following speeches by Salutatorians Stephanie Kent and Erica Preister and Valedictorians Karen Pelletier and Bailey Stottrup, the ever-dynamic class speaker Tom Crawford took the stage with a message to his classmates: Being that you all nominated me class speaker, I am going to assume that you trust me to deliver a speech of worth.

Crawford had a simple request for his classmates. All he wanted them to do was to repeat after him.

And then the craziness of the 118th Princeton High School commencement began as the gym filled with the following words:


There was a great big moose

Who liked to drink a lot of juice

There was a great big moose

Who liked to drink a lot of juice


He drank his juice with care

But he spilt it in his hair

He drank his juice with care

But he spilt it in his hair


There was a great big moose

On the loose

Full of juice…


“Beautiful! Magnificent! Awe-inspiring,” Crawford said in commending his classmates at the end of the sing-a-long.

And he was right.

What a moose full of juice had to graduation, people didn’t really know.

But Crawford did a brilliant job of leaving his classmates with a fun-filled memory that they were all able to participate in.

Two hundred and fifty graduates were set to walk across the stage, shake hands with Supt. Richard Lahn and then get their diplomas from school board members Kathy Kraft or Jim Gibbs.

The graduation ceremony opened with the traditional performance of “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the high school’s Symphonic Winds band.

Class President Kelly McClay then led the graduates, friends and family in the “Pledge of Allgiance.”

Co-Salutatorian Stephanie Kent led off the class speakers, followed by Co-Salutatorian Erica Preister.

Kent had a simple message: “Do what makes you happy.”

Only you know what makes you happy, Kent said.

“Live in the place you want to live, marry the person you truly love, work at the job which you enjoy. Give yourself plenty of reasons to wake up in the morning,” she said.

Kent also encouraged her fellow students to put their hearts into everything they do and to be passionate about the things in their lives. She also encouraged her classmates to reach out and comfort each other on those days when everything might no be going your way.

“Don’t turn your back on someone in need,” Kent said. “You never know when you’ll be the person needing a shoulder to cry on or someone to talk to.”

Preister followed and reminded her fellow students that graduation day didn’t come easy. There were 13 years of homework and tests.

Friends played a big part of making school enjoyable, Preister said.

“My challenge to you is to stay close with the friends you made throughout high school,” she said. “Your closest friends now might be hours away when they used to be minutes.”

She also challenged the Class of 2012 to never forget what happened on their way to graduation day.

“That would mean losing who you are and where you came from,” Preister said.

Valedictorians Karen Pelletier and Bailey Stottrup were the next to speak.

Pelletier said she was a terrible procrastinator and it wasn’t until 10 p.m. Thursday, the night before graduation, that she pulled out her laptop to write her speech.

Like Preister, Pelletier reflected on the friendships she has made in school.

“Although this is the final day of our high school experience, I encourage you all to keep pushing yourselves to become all that you can be,” she said.

Each of her classmates has the potential to achieve greatness, whether its in going off to college getting a job, or joining the military.

“As you leave here today, know that this graduation is just the first of many things you will accomplish in your lives,” she said.

Stottrup turned back the clock to simpler times, like the St. Patrick’s day in kindergarten when teachers painted leprechaun footprints on the classroom floor.

She knew the footprints were not real, but so badly wanted them to be. She left school as a senior finally forgiving the South Elementary staff for trying to fool her so long ago.

Stottrup said she wouldn’t have picked anywhere else to have been raised. But with that said, it is also time to move on.

“The education, experiences and the beliefs you’ve chosen to follow have all set us up for this departure from school,” Stottrup said.

“Your future is an endless maze of paths that you will and won’t choose to take,” she said.

Stottrup encouraged her fellow students to see the possibilities that lie before them and to make the best of their lives.

High School English teacher Thor Mattick was selected by the students as their gust speaker. Mattick shared how the school code of conduct could — and would — be adapted to help the graduates through the rest of their lives. And while Mattick didn’t talk about a moose who likes juice, he did turn to the infamous Dr. Seuss and his “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” in offering the students some post-graduation advice.

“Kids, You’ll move mountains,” he quoted Seuss.

“You mountain is waiting. So…get on you way. Oh, the places you’ll go,” he continued to read.

“When you go find your mountain, some of you will climb it. Some will go around it. And some of you will barrel right through it,” Mattick said.

And calling upon the graduates’ class motto, he encouraged all 245 members of the graduating class to go out and show the world that “You can’t out do the Class of 1-2.