WBHS Class of 2019 is prepared to move forward


PHOTO BY MIRIAM NELSON Rikki Jo Koplitz, saxophone, and Morgan Joswiak, clarinet, play with the Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School band one last time at the graduation ceremony Saturday.

The Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School gymnasium was filled with family members and friends supporting the Class of 2019 at commencement Saturday night.

Superintendent Garret Rogowski congratulated the 66-member class and assured them that during the past four years, they have established a foundation for a successful future.

“Whatever you choose to do, do what makes you happy,” Rogowski said. “Stay grounded, humble and thankful for the gifts you’ve been blessed with.”

Guest speaker Justin Szews, a 1994 WBHS graduate, acknowledged that he was not fond of academics in his younger years — a curious beginning for someone who later would be selected as the 2017 Wisconsin assistant principal of the year and then chosen as one of three assistant principals for national honors in 2018. He is now working toward getting his superintendent license.

“Use the tools given to you to help navigate your journey of life,” Szews told the graduates.

He acknowledged the many tools he learned from his teachers at WBHS. Hating math, he learned enough to test out of college-level math. Learning to cook and sew came in handy the minute he started college. Science class that included field work taught him that learning can be taught outside the classroom.

He recalled being “bored out of his gourd” in typing class but found it very useful in college when a new thing called email was created.

Szews encouraged the students to stay connected with family and friends as “they will be there for you when life gets rough.”

In addition to Szews, valedictorian Chloe King and salutatorian Jack Stewart delivered addresses.

The WBHS band and concert choir performed at the ceremony. Principal Jill Sharp, teachers Dan Krolow and Melissa Gauderman along with Rosholt teacher Julie Krolow performed a musical selection as well.