4 | June 6, 2019 | The highland park landmark news


Students reflect on

high school experience

after HPHS graduation

Olivia Vallone

Editorial Intern

More than 500 Highland

Park High School students

walked across the grand

stage at Ravinia Park on

May 29 to receive their

well-earned diploma.

At the beginning of the

ceremony, principal Deborah

Finn announced the recipient

of the 112th Medal

of Honor as Amir Ahmed

Saeed Fakhari. This Medal

of Honor is awarded to best

all around student during

his or her senior year chosen

by the staff of HPHS

every year since 1907.

“The moment they called

my name for it, it was as if

time froze,” Fakhari said.

“It was a very joyous moment

for me.”

The 2019 class is one

of the biggest graduating

classes the high school

has ever seen. Out of the

515 graduates, 287 of the

students were a part of the

HPHS Honors Society.

Samuel Dincin, a graduate

part of the HPHS

Scholars and Honors Society,

gave a speech about

the power of simple acts of

kindness. Dincin shared a

story about how a compliment

he received on his T-

shirt meant so much to him

that he felt more confident

every time he wore that

shirt. As he was recounting

this story, he opened his

graduation gown to reveal

that very shirt.

“It can truly just take one

sentence to make someone’s

day,” Dincin said.

Highland Park High School graduate Glenn Sherman

walks across the stage, May 29, at the school’s graduation

ceremony at Ravinia Festival. Erin Yarnall/22nd

Century Media

“So as we all leave high

school behind, remember

that you will always have

the power to create happiness

in the lives of others

and in the world around


Principal Finn announced

the salutatorians

(Joshua Gross and Jacob

Hersh) and valedictorians

(Natalie Abreu, Joshua

Gross and Jacob Hersh)

while she was presenting

student honors. This year

was the first year that a student

could be recognized

as both a salutatorian and


Finn later elaborated on

the HPHS motto of dream

- believe - achieve by offering

students advice and

words of encouragement

about each core value.

“Fine is never good

enough if you’re not giving

it all you’re effort,” Gross

said when describing how

he saw HPHS values.

Gross went on to outline

the programs he had

been apart of and loved at

the high school. The most

impactful organization for

him was the HPHS band in

which he played the saxophone

and grew closer with

everyone in the band.

When asked what one

word would describe his

class best, Gross chose

‘broad.’ Gross explained

that everyone in his class

came from different backgrounds

and had different

interests and he was grateful

to get to learn about all

of them throughout his four

years at HPHS.

Being one of the biggest

classes in the high school’s

history, some people were

concerned about the seating

arrangements before

the celebration.

There were people standing

in the back of the pavilion

but, for the most part,

everyone who wanted a

seat had one available.

After the ceremony to

celebrate their successful

four years, all graduates

were invited to Enchanted

Castle in Lombard and a

sunrise breakfast at Park

Avenue Beach to celebrate.

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