When Nick Mazzolini was diagnosed with lymphoma in November, he set a goal to undergo treatments and attempt to recover in time to attend his high school graduation.
Mazzolini, 17, of Lake in the Hills, was in his senior year at Crystal Lake South High School.
Since his diagnosis, he lost many opportunities to hang out with friends. He couldn’t snowboard either last winter with his best friend, Jacob Thiel, also a South senior.
And Mazzolini missed several school days while being treated with chemotherapy and radiation because his blood counts were too low and leaving his house would risk infection.
But when the Gator Class of 2012 donned their caps and gowns on Saturday and marched into the Crystal Lake South gymnasium, Mazzolini was right there among them. He’s in a maintenance treatment stage now, yet still waging his battle.
Also sitting among the graduates was Crystal Lake senior Mackenzie Tannhauser, who underwent heart transplant surgery in September. Patch wrote about earlier this week.
The seniors' return to school brightened Saturday’s commencement ceremony, where 479 students graduated. Of those, 47 graduated with honors.
Carol Feng earned the honor of class valedictorian, ending her high school career with a 4.70 grade-point-average, South Principal Marsha Potthoff said.
“If you’re wondering how you get a 4.70 it’s basically by getting all A’s, mostly A-pluses and taking mostly honors classes,” Potthoff said.
Erik Kountz earned the class salutatorian honor.
Combined, the four schools serving Community High School District 155 graduated 1,715 seniors on Saturday.