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United Township High School, Moline, has selected these outstanding seniors from its graduating class:


Joey Dryoel, child of Diane Boruff, Dan Dryoel, plans to major in Microbiology at Loyola University, Chicago.

Top 3 achievements: Marching Band, Speech Team and Musical

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? Through the arts, I learned the importance of time management and hard work both in and out of school. With memorizing lines, blocking, music, monologues, and key signatures, all on top of school work and my personal life, I was forced to budget my time and learn how to work quickly and efficiently. I learned what I valued in life and in my education. The arts allowed me to express my emotions and decompress, while academics allowed me to work my mind and use my critical thinking skills. In my future career and life I will be able to balance academics with a family and with my hobbies. These skills that I have gained throughout high school will henceforth benefit me in every aspect of my life.

Alison Ogden, child of Dona and Brian Ogden, plans to major in Environmental Studies and Policy at Augustana College, Rock Island.

Top 3 achievements: Illinois State Scholar, Top Ten and Captain of the Girls' Swimming Team

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? At UT I have been able to learn to express myself. I have been able to take many classes that have pushed me to find my passions and explore things I may not have considered before. In the future I hope to keep finding things that I love to do.

Ashley Preston, child of Jillanne and Darrel Preston, plans to major in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Iowa.

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? After going through UT’s program, I learned the importance of thinking using different lenses. Barreling through life and never looking around is no way to live life at all.

The Arts

Justyn Appleby, child of Lacy and Brandon Small, plans to major in Instrumental Music Education at University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls.

Top 3 achievements: Drum Major for the UTHS Marching Panther, went to the state-series sectionals for speech my first year and placed second chair in Augustana college’s highly competitive, top honor band

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? High school taught me that the world is a difficult place and that effort, friends, and family are a necessity to survive. Marching band has certainly had the largest impact on my life and who I am as a person. It taught me that you don’t have to be related to be family, and that, no matter what, those you are close to and trust will be there for you when you need it most. Above all though, I will take away the fact that even though life may toss hardships your way here and there, enduring and making it out of the other side makes you stronger and able to appreciate the little things. It’s a big, mean world out there, but I just have to remember that everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, that just means it’s not the end.

Sarah McGrath, child of John and Cindy McGrath, plans to major in Animal Science at Black Hawk College Moline.

Top 3 achievements: Top 5% of graduating class, Illinois State Scholar and John Deere Harvester Award

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? High school has taught me a lot of valuable lessons, but the most important lesson was to never underestimate myself. During painting class, my teacher announced to the class that we were going to be painting a portrait of someone we knew. I immediately thought that I would never be able to do that, but my teacher assured me that I could. My painting began a little rough looking, and took a lot of attention. As I continued, my painting slowly began to get better and ended up turning out pretty good. When I stopped underestimating myself, I was able to accomplish what I never thought I could.


Fernanda Montoya, child of Sofia and Fernando Montoya, plans to major in Accounting.

Top 3 achievements: National Hispanic Scholar, Illinois State Scholar and Top Ten

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? UT has been a place where I’ve learned to apply myself and go outside of my comfort zone. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with the studies program where I’ve had the ability to build a tight knit family with my fellow students as we’ve been through a lot together. I know that I will be able to take the experiences from these classes to my further education.

Hailey Luebbers, child of Mark and Celeste Luebbers, plans to major in Pre-Physician Assistant and Spanish at Augustana College, Rock Island.

Top 3 achievements: State Qualifier for WYSE team, Illinois State Scholar and and Top Ten

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? I learned that life changes and the way to excel in anything is that, you have to be able to adapt to those changes. New things are good and experiencing things outside of your comfort zone is a challenge but they will always reap good benefits. These experiences will overall help me in my future when I face challenges that I have not come into contact thus far.


Brandi LaFountaine, child of Rich LaFountaine and Jennifer Nelson, plans to major in Secondary Education at Illinois State University - Bloomington Normal.

Top 3 achievements: Illinois State Scholar, Daughters of American Revolution Good Citizen Award and Academic All-American(NISCA)

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? A very memorable moment from my high school career would have to be the homecoming weeks, especially when the girls get to play Powder Puff Football and the boys get to be the cheerleaders. The girls get to show off their athletic skills while the boys get to have cheer battles and hurt themselves trying to do stunts and pyramids.

Joey Coronado, child of Lisa Reynolds and Robert Coronado, plans to major in Engineering at Blackhawk, then transfer to Illinois State.

Top 3 achievements: Becoming Student Council President, Leadership Award and Student of the Month ( in Law and Public Safety).

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? I feel that being at UT has taught me many things, but the biggest thing I have learned from being here is to be nice to others. I feel that this is important because this world is very rough and being nice to random people can make a big difference. Being nice is just one of the things we can do to make a better world and I thank UT for showing me that.

Math/The Sciences

Collin Antolik, child of Evan and Dawn Antolik, plans to major in Electrical Engineering at Western Illinois University, Moline.

Top 3 achievements: Illinois State Scholar, Section Leader in Marching Band and John Deere Recognition Award

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? The thing I learn in high school that I will take with me is how to program. During my senior year, I taught myself how to program simple programs on my calculator. That has now evolved into a hobby where I continue to push myself to learn new and more complicated programming languages to work on harder projects. Not only is this a great hobby for me, but it also is a secondary occupation choice if I ever need it. It has become a useful tool already and I am glad I will have the ability to use it later in life.

Fernada Alonso, child of Erika Alonso and Israel Aguirre, plans to major in Health Information Management at Black Hawk Community College, Moline.

Top 3 achievements: State Scholar, Best Actress and Certificate of Excellence

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I learned to explore myself and what I needed to do to be the person I want to be, to grow in integrity, and to make good decisions by setting priorities (putting spiritual interests first and following Bible-based principles). I learned to be courageous in expressing my beliefs in a respectful manner. have spent four years studying the French language and culture in high school with a dedicated and loving teacher, Rhonda Mellor, who has helped me to speak and write an entire new language.

Vocational Education

Rosemary Michaels, child of Robert and Joelle Michaels, plans to major in Nursing at Black Hawk College, Moline.

Top 3 achievements: Top 10 student of my class all four years of high school, Illinois State Scholar and Student of the Month in Echo (nursing class)

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? I learned a lot in my nursing class (Echo) and I plan to take all of that information with me out of high school and into college so I can expand my knowledge in the medical field. I plan to obtain at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing by the time I am done with college and my goal is to be the best nurse I can be!

Megan Meeske, child of Todd and Amy Meeske, plans to major in Early Childhood Education/Elementary Education at St. Ambrose University.

Top 3 achievements: Honor Roll all semesters, invited into National Honors Society and invited into Spanish National Honors Society

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? In high school, I learned many different things I will take with me into college and beyond. I will definitely take all the information I learned in Early Childhood Education 1. This class has given me a lot of information that I will take into the future. It has given me a tremendous head start on the education classes I will have to take in college. I have learned how to write lesson plans, organize activities, and take care of a class.

Young Journalist

Cassidy Maxwell, child of Aimee and Robert Maxwell, plans to major in Elementary Education at St. Ambrose University.

Top 3 achievements: Honor Roll, Becoming editor of the yearbook my senior year and receiving a $14K annual academic scholarship from St. Ambrose.

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? Truthfully, most of what I’ve learned from high school wasn’t in a classroom. I learned many things from my peers and other people I’ve met throughout the years and in a way, I think that those are the greatest lessons you can learn. Through the last four years I’ve learned the ups and downs of adolescence, all while learning about myself and the people I’ve surrounded myself with. I’ve learned of the things that make all of us different, along with the many more things that make us all the same. I’ve learned of the paths people have taken in their lives that have made them the people they are and led them to the positions that they stand in. Most of all I’ve learned how the choices we make affect our day to day lives and in that, I’ve learned how to make choices I can be proud of.

Emma Powell, child of Sarah and Byron Powell, plans to major in Architecture at Blackhawk College. 

Top 3 achievements: Top 10% of 2019 Graduating Class, John Deere Special Recognition Award and ACC Drafting and Design Student of the Month January 2019

What is something you learned that you will take with you after high school? Teachers who invest more time into their students rather than just teaching are the ones who create a better experience for high school students. Luckily I’ve had some amazing teachers who have given me life lessons to carry with me as I transition into the adult world. These teachers also motivated me to keep going with my academics and strive for excellence. For these teachers I’ll be forever grateful and everyday I’m reminded that without those teachers, I would be struggling to navigate life outside of a 8:00-3:01 schedule.

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