BHS graduation set for Saturday
He won't be receiving a diploma Saturday, but Charles Holvoet will be moving on along with the 100-plus Baldwin High School seniors.
Holvoet will be delivering the commencement address at his final BHS ceremony, which begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Baldwin Junior High School gymnasium. The doors open at 10 a.m.
"In a way, I am graduating with them," Holvoet said. "It's time for an ending.
"They are ending their career here and I am ending my career here," he said. "We are still breathing, so we will move on to other things."
Holvoet will be retiring after 39 years of teaching, 25 of which were at BHS. He taught English and debate at BHS.
When he was asked to give the commencement speech, Holvoet said he was honored, but didn't get too excited.
"To be speaker in my last year, it's an honor," Holvoet said. "I hope to enjoy it and have fun with it. I don't know if it's any really big deal, but I'm going to have fun and give them something worthwhile."
BHS senior class president Emily Krysztof helped select Holvoet as the 2007 commencement speaker. The seniors originally thought the speaker had to be a BHS alumnus, but discovered that wasn't true.
After realizing that, she said the seniors chose Holvoet for several reasons.
"Our students have so much respect for Mr. Holvoet and he's been at our school for so long," Krysztof said. "Part of it was we wanted to recognize him. We knew he would give a really good speech and I am looking forward to it."
Holvoet hopes his speech will at least entertain the students and families at the commencement.
"I've got a speech all written," Holvoet said. "It doesn't bother me much to speak. I hope to entertain everyone pretty well."
Two BHS seniors will also be addressing their classmates Saturday. Wesley Callahan and Josh Wood will be representing their class during the ceremony.
"It will be nice to address my class one final time," Callahan said. "Unfortunately, it will probably be the last time that we will all be together. That is one of the sad parts of graduation. It will be nice to give some closing remarks on our Baldwin education."
Also speaking at the ceremony will be Supt. Paul Dorathy and BHS Principal Shaun Moseman. It will be their first BHS commencement and both are ready for Saturday.
"I am really looking forward to the commencement ceremony this year," Dorathy said. "It will be my first at Baldwin and my first chance to give a few remarks that day. To me, it's the culmination of everything we've done through the years. All of the students have put in 13 years of hard work. It is a good time for the student, parents and families."
Moseman will say a few words and introduce the speakers Saturday. Although he will miss his first class at Baldwin, he is prepared for the ceremony.
"I am really looking forward to it. We have a lot of good seniors that have worked hard and are dedicated to going on. It's their start for the next level. "We are really going to miss them. There are a few of them that I would like to be here a while longer."
Moseman isn't the only BHS staff member that will miss the 2007 seniors. BHS English teacher Kit Harris said this year's seniors help make the school a positive environment.
"It's been a great group," Harris said. "They have a wide variety of strengths and wonderful personalities. They've helped create a lot of good experiences and memories as a Baldwin High student. We will miss them."
Even before the seniors walk across the stage and receive their diploma, they know they will have mixed feelings Saturday.
"I am excited to be moving on, but I am mostly sad at the moment," Krysztof said. "I look at all of the kids and think I've spent 14 years with some of them. This is my life and now, all of a sudden, it's all changing. That's scary, but it's exciting to know we've reached this milestone."
Callahan agreed with Krysztof, saying he enjoyed his time at BHS, but is ready to leave.
"I don't think you can find a senior that's not looking forward to graduation," Callahan said. "Although Baldwin has been a great school, we are ready to get out of here."