At the top of the class

COAL CITY HIGH School valedictorian Dominic Curtis [left] and salutatorian Jace Hass [right] will receive diplomas during the school's rescheduled commencement ceremony on July 25.


After two pandemic delays, the Coal City High School class of 2020 will have the opportunity to walk across the stage to accept their diplomas.
A socially distanced in-person commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, July 25, in the Dzuris Athletic Complex. Attendance is limited to the graduates and their two guests. Members of the school faculty and board of education have also been invited to participate in the outdoor ceremony.
Along with speeches by class officers and remarks from the administration, the ceremony will recognize the academic achievement of the top 10 percent of the school’s graduating class.
Valedictorian Dominic Curtis will be honored, as will salutatorian Jace Haas. Both are scheduled to address their classmates during the ceremony.
Also to be recognized, in order of class rank from three to 18, are: Aspen Johnson, Kaitlyn Forehand, Kelsie Norris, Cody Rogers, Joshua Michalak, John Majesky-Wills, Lillian Best, Kit Clayburn, Rose Feeney, Keaira Williams, Trevor Hanson, Peighton Gill, Lucas Cairns, Emily Spreitzer, Jacob Shumaker, and Syndi Borteles. Students ranked in the top 10 percent posted grade point averages [GPA] ranging from 4.855 to 4.338.
Curtis, the son of Allison Mitchell, earned top academic honors for the class by earning a 4.855 GPA over seven semesters of study. He will continue his education at Yale University majoring in chemical engineering. Curtis enters the Ivy League university as a QuestBridge Scholar and earning a Yale First Year Scholar award.
Haas earned salutatorian honors with a 4.6441 GPA. The son of Tom and Lynn Haas, he will continue his education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he will major in electrical engineering. He has been awarded an Engineering Excellence Scholarship from the university.
Johnson, the daughter of Tonya and Jeff Johnson, finishes high school with a 4.6 GPA. She will major in elementary education and minor in math at Eastern Illinois University where she has been awarded an Eastern Merit Scholarship.
Forehan, the daughter of Eric and Melody Forehand, has achieved a 4.58 GPA during her time at CCHS. She will continue her education at Augustana College where she will study pre-optometry, along with interdisciplinary and business. Her academic record has earned her a Augustana College Presidential Scholarship.
Norris, the daughter of Rene and Joe Norris, is headed to Illinois State University next month where she will major in elementary education. In recognition of her academic record that includes a 4.56 GPA she has received a GAVC Student Activity Fund and Coal City Junior Woman’s Club Scholarship, and been presented with Redbird Scholar and a Legacy and Aim High Scholarships from ISU.
Rogers, the son of Amy and Steve Rogers, will double major in film and media, and political science at American University in Washington, D.C. where he will also study Spanish. Rogers completes his high school career with a 4.52 and an admission to American University’s Community Based Research Scholars Program. He has also earned the school’s Dean’s Scholarship and AU Grant. During his senior year at CCHS he served as president of his graduating class and was named the DAR Good Citizen Award recipient.
Michalak, the son of Janine and John Michalak, plans to study biology with a minor in business at the University of Missouri. His academic work during high school earned him a 4.496 GPA.
Wills, the son of Linda and Roger Wills, is headed to Eastern Illinois University where he has been awarded a Pemberton Presidential Scholarship and an EIU Distinguished Merit Award. He will major in broadcast journalism. He finishes his high school with a 4.47 GPA. He
Best, the daughter of Amy and Ron Best, will further her education at Illinois State University where she will study graphic design and marketing. She completes her high school studies with a 4.464 GPA. She has been awarded a Redbird Scholarship and is a Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Award recipient.
Clayburn, the son of Dawn and Warren Clayburn, will further his education at Iowa State University where he will study animal ecology. He earned a 4.45 GPA over seven semesters of study at CCHS.
Feeney, the daughter of Peggy and Kevin Feeney, will begin her studies in occupational therapy at Concordia University in the fall. She wraps up her high school career with 4.43 GPA.
Williams, the daughter of Letitia Washington and Deleon Williams, will continue her education at Loyola University Chicago where she has been awarded the Presidential Scholarship and Greer Scholarship to assist in her studies in the field of biology. She completes her academic studies at CCHS with a 4.42 GPA.
Hanson, the son of Michael Hanson and Nancy Hanson, completes his high schools studies with a 4.4 GPA. He is headed to the University of Maine at Orono to study mechanical engineering. He has earned the UM Flagship Match Scholarship, Early Action Scholarship, as well as university merit scholarships.
Gill, the daughter of Amanda and Tony Gill, finishes her academic studies at CCHS with a 4.39 GPA. She will continue her education at Joliet Junior College in the field of computer science.
Cairns, the son of Shannon Baer and John Cairns, is headed west to study game design at the University of Utah where he has earned a Utah Merit Scholarship. He completes his high school career with a 4.38 GPA.
Spreitzer, the daughter of Pam and Keith Spreitzer, completes her high school education with a 4.37 GPA.
Shumaker, the son of Erin and Bradley Shumaker, will double major in finance and accounting with a minor in management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he has been awarded the L. Berg-H Steinberg Scholarship, Business Access Scholarship, Reported Business Scholarship and University of Illinois Commitment Recipient award. He completes his high school studies with a 4.35 GPA.
Bortles, the daughter of Melissa and Jeff Bortles, is also heading to the University of Illinois in the fall. She plans to major in architectural studies at Urbana-Champaign campus. She finishes her high school studies with a 4.33 GPA.
The commencement ceremony, as planned, is scheduled to be livestreamed for family and friends who are unable to attend due to the state’s current gathering limit and social distancing requirement.
If the weather does not cooperate for the planned outdoor ceremony, the presentation of diplomas will be moved inside.
Should that be the case, students and their two guests will be brought into the gymnasium in groups—15 graduates and 30 guests—to walk across the stage and collect their diploma. The group presentations will be done in alphabetical order beginning at 2 p.m. and continue until all students have a chance to walk across the stage.