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Friday, June 4th, 2010

Less IS More

My little brother's graduating class was featured in today's newspaper!

Less IS more

The Greenview Community High School Class of 2010 - all 16 members - is almost like family
STORY BY TAMARA BROWNING PHOTOGRAPHS BY T. J . SALSMAN

GREENVIEW - The 16 members of the Greenview Community High School Class of 2010 who received diplomas May 29 can be named in a matter of minutes - making for a shorter commencement ceremony than those found at schools in Springfield.

The senior class graduated from a school with a total enrollment of just 78 students. Among traditional, public high schools in central Illinois, Bluffs in western Scott County and Meredosia in western Morgan County were the only other schools with enrollments of less than 100, according to the Illinois High School Association. (Other area schools with similar enrollments are either private schools or schools serving specialized student bodies.) Small may be typical for Greenview, which serves a rural, agricultural-based community in northern Menard County, but 16 students was an unusually small graduating class.

"Normally, our sizes run between 20 and 23.

Just every once in a while, we have a very small class like this one," said Sue Sisler, school counselor.

Shrinking class sizes have led a number of school districts to consolidate in an effort to save money. For example, the 2010-11 school year will be the first for the consolidated North Mac School District, combining Virden and Girard schools. But small seems to be manageable in Greenview.

During commencement practice May 21 at Greenview's gym, the seniors were attentive and respectful while listening as Sisler outlined the proper way to receive diplomas.

Sisler asked the seniors if they wanted to walk to the stage during the processional individually or by twos. They voted for "twos."

"When you walk out, you'll walk out by yourself," Sisler told them.


The seniors give back to Greenview Community High School with a gift of landscaping.

Different directions

Like thousands of seniors graduating from central Illinois schools this spring, the Greenview students will walk in different directions. Some are joining the military. Some are going to college (schools in downstate Illinois are a popular choice).

As a chapter in their lives came to an end, many in the class shared their thoughts about being in such a small class.

A few surprising things were revealed.

For example, many of the Greenview Class of 2010 came to the district after starting kindergarten elsewhere - with some coming to Greenview as late as high school. Without those students moving in, this year's Greenview class might have been downright miniscule.

Karissa Stuckey attended PORTA schools from kindergarten until her freshman year.

"Before Greenview, I was basically a number and dollar sign. When I moved, I was shy, but everyone quickly made me feel welcome," Karissa said.

"My sophomore year was filled with new people and new experiences, but I would have to say that making new friends was the best memory. My classmates are constantly laughing and joking about something, and now we all share silly inside jokes."

Braden Mauney's first year at Greenview was his senior year, after he attended various schools in Springfield. Mauney loved being in a small class because "everyone is one big group of friends," he said.

"I'm so thankful for my class. I came here on the first day of school only knowing one junior. Everyone in my class was so nice to me and made me a part of them," said Braden, who plans to attend Lincoln Land Community College.

Another surprising fact: The 16 members of the Class of 2010 didn't necessarily see each other from homeroom to the final school bell each day.

"I feel like I should give some elaborate story about how we all did something outside of school, but honestly, some of the best times we've had together were just us hangin' out together in history because that was the only class we all had together over the years," said class president Brian Phillips. "We learned a lot about each other and used that time to grow closer together."

After all the time spent together in school, there were still opportunities to get to know classmates even better outside of class.

The consensus from the seniors was that their senior trip, a one-day excursion to St. Louis that included a Cardinals baseball game, was their last hurrah. The class had been raising money for the trip since they were freshmen.

"Even though we had one day, it was the best," Karissa said. "I will probably never see most of my classmates/best friends ever again, and we shared many memories and bonded so much in those 12 hours."


Dalora Dosier makes her way down the graduate receiving line to congratulate her grandson, Jared Whitcomb, after the ceremony on May 29.

Keeping an eye on each other

Attending such a small school with such a small group of people has its plusses and minuses.

Savannah Monroe, class valedictorian, attended Greenview schools throughout her school career. Being in a small class is like having a big family, Monroe said.

"There are definitely arguments and conflicts, but in the end, our love for each other (overcomes) the hard feelings," said Savannah, who plans to attend Greenville College to major in sociology and minor in music.

Samantha Horn, who attended Greenview schools since kindergarten, said she was able to get extra help from teachers and foster closeness with everyone because of the small class.

However, the class salutatorian who plans to attend Parkland College and later the University of Illinois, offered one criticism: "I don't like the fact that we don't have many classes to choose from."

Sisler, the school counselor, says Greenview offers students some challenging courses.

"We do offer them all their basic classes, plus we do offer AP English, we offer calculus, we'll offer physics next year, we're going to offer Spanish IV, so we do offer them a wide variety of classes from those who are high achievers to those that are medium achievers," Sisler said.

"One big advantage, too, we have with the kids is that we can keep a close eye on them. They can't get away with anything.

If they're failing a class, we're on them. If they're not doing well in class, we're on them. We make sure they get the services needed to help them through those things."

Perhaps one telling statistic about the class' academic success: 10 of the 16 students graduating from Greenview this spring are honor students.

Sisler also notes that Greenview doesn't "have to worry about stabbings in the hallways and teachers getting hit. The state's going on and on about bigger is better.

No, it's not. No, it's not."

Then there's the other side of being in a small group of people.

Being in a small class can produce better grades and close friends, "but everyone knows your business," said Dakota Eugene Smith, who attended another elementary school until fourth grade. He plans to join the U.S. Navy.

"Everyone knows everything about you, whether good, bad or indifferent, but it's still a great place to be," said Karissa, a member of the National Honor Society who will attend the University of Illinois Springfield this fall.

Ready for the future

The Greenview Community High School Class of 2010's motto is, "Live life to the fullest, even if it means living on the edge."

Bradley Whitcomb echoed that sentiment in his advice to underclassmen."Live every day like it's your last. Don't hold anything back, and never back down," said Bradley, who plans to attend Monmouth College to play football and major in math and education.


An emotional Brad Whitcomb is congratulated by his mother, Cleo, after graduating from Greenview High School.

This being graduation season, many people are giving advice. Here is what some members of Greenview's Class of 2010 have to say to younger students.

-- "Work hard and do your homework," said Jared Whitcomb (Bradley's cousin), who plans to attend LLCC.

-- "Study," said Michael Dosier, who plans to attend LLCC to study law enforcement.

-- "Have fun. It goes quick," said Zachary Markley, who went to another school from kindergarten through fourth grade and plans to attend college.

-- Practice time management, said Brian Phillips, who will attend Lincoln Christian University this fall. "Don't get too wrapped up in trying to do everything, yet be sure to do some extracurricular."

Brian was involved in a host of activities, including Art Club, Spanish Club, FFA, Drama Club, National Honor Society, yearbook, class officers, student council, Scholastic Bowl, Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) Team and Capitol Forum.

As members of the Class of 2010 go their separate ways, Karissa notes that graduation day seems to have arrived "before you know it and everyone is saying goodbye."But she seems happy with her experience at Greenview.

"We may be small, but we are proud of who we are, and small schools are better learning environments than people might think."

Tamara Browning can be reached at 788 1-534 or tamara. browning@sjr.com


The 16 members of Greenview's Class of 2010 pose for a portrait.


Tags:  Brian, graduation
7 Comments
Ames
Brian is my brother. I love how they quote him at the end saying don't try to do everything and then they list the ridiculous amount of stuff he was involved in. Good job, Bri! We're proud of you!
Ames   Friday, June 4, 2010
nheinzel
Yes, Ames, it sounds as if he tried to do everything! Congratulations, Brian, and all the members of Greenview Community High School graduating class! I'm sure they have all developed a special bond that they will take with them throughout their lives. Friends forever!
!   Friday, June 4, 2010
lgrant
Thanks for sharing the article. I can see why you are so proud of him. :)
LGrant   Friday, June 4, 2010
igna83
Greenview is my husband's alma mater -- Class of '85 -- and he was in a class of 23 students. Greenview's academic rating is one of the best in the state and if Bill had been employed somewhere in the Springfield area, we would certainly live there! As a former educator, smaller class size is definitely a PERK!!

Congratulations to Amy's brother Brian and the entire Class of 2010 from Greenview, especially our Photography by Howard's End Menard County Senior Rep & Salutatorian, Samantha Horn! WOOT!!
Angi   Friday, June 4, 2010
RickMonday
He probably knows the Shermans then. I played basketball with Jon Sherman at Griffin back in the day. I was an '85 Griffin grad. Jon Sherman was from Greenview, was like 6' 5" or 6' 6" and had either twin or triplet brothers who went to Greenview.
RickMonday   Friday, June 4, 2010
igna83
Bill and his group of friends used to be best friends w/Jon before he transferred to Griffin - after that, he pretty much ostracized himself from everyone in Greenview and rarely comes back now, though he might've been there last weekend for his mom's 80th birthday. He's one of about six kids in that family and yes, he has twin brothers! I actually fell and broke my leg in Jon's mother's house back in '05...
Angi   Saturday, June 5, 2010
RickMonday
Wow, small world.
RickMonday   Saturday, June 5, 2010
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