Ross White, Oakwood

Members of the school board, administration, faculty, staff, family, friends, and especially the class of 2009 it is hard to believe that it's actually 3:00 on our graduation day.

Sunyoung Won, Judah Christian

Greetings to all of the students, teachers, parents, and to the graduation class of 2009. Once again, my name is Sunyoung Won, and I am here to speak on behalf of the graduating class of 2009.

Mudhavi Bhavsar, Danville High School

On this day, you have and will be hearing speeches from wonderful people behind me. I am honored to be amongst them. They will speak to you about your future, about your past, and about the present. To all of this, I would just like to add:

Lisa LeCleir, Danville High School

An Olympic athlete once said, "The reason [that] most people fail isn't because of the competition but because of the limits they place upon themselves ... Take responsibility for your destiny. You can come up with a performance, if you can ... dig deep enough into your competitive soul" As part of the Class of 2009, I believe we have the potential end the ability to 'dig deep' and become successful. Congratulations! Today marks a momentous celebration of the end of our childhood years.

Cody Bianchetta, Schlarman

Once I learned that I would have to give a speech today, I told myself that I should start preparing for it as soon as possible. But days went by, and then weeks, and then months, and I still hadn't even begun to think about what I would say. Then, in an instant, our graduation was only two weeks away, and I still had absolutely no ideas of what to discuss in my speech. I was angry at myself for waiting for so long to write it. Originally I thought that I had waited so long to prepare my speech because of sloth and procrastination. But, after a few days, I realized that I had not been ignoring my duties; I had simply been trying to avoid the unavoidable; that perhaps, if I just ignored the speech, that it might go away and I might never have to graduate and leave all of my friends from Schlarman. Still, as we all know, time does not stop for anyone, and although these last four years have seemed to only last a second, I know that my classmates and I will never forget all of the wonderful memories and friendships that we have made over the years.

Katelin Sheppard, Hoopeston Area High School

Welcome Everyone - Our Parents, Family, Friends, Our Biggest Fans. Thank you for being with us throughout all these years and supporting us along the way. And most importantly, thank you for being here tonight to help our Class of 2009 celebrate one of the biggest days of our lives.

Stephanie Carter, St. Joseph-Ogden

Seniors: You sit here today as proof of hope for what's to come, of a future, and of a job well done. You are the parents, the teachers, and the CEOs of tomorrow.

Teen hits guardrail on U.S. 150; minor injuries reported

FARMER CITY – A Farmer City teen escaped serious injury Friday morning when her car hit a guardrail.

Illinois State Police at Pesotum said Tamara N. Grindley, 16, was driving west on U.S. 150 near Piatt County Road 700 E when she drove into the eastbound lane and hit the end of a guardrail.

For UI's new provost, it's always been about growth

URBANA – It may be a long way from growing up on a Texas farm to filling one of the most powerful posts at the University of Illinois when he steps into his interim provost position, but Robert Easter isn't one for forgetting his roots.

He still grows, from fruit trees on his once-rural Mahomet acreage, to friendships that span decades, to knowledge of how pigs function and how that, in turn, can help understand how people function.

Program to help farmers recycle chemical containers

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers to recycle their empty agrichemical containers.

The department announced last week a recycling program for the containers that begins later this summer. Designated sites across the state will collect the containers and grind them into small plastic chips used to make shipping pallets, fence posts, drainage tubing, plastic lumber and other products.