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Lyons Township High School unites to celebrate

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It will take another 125 years to top the thrill power of Lyons Township High School’s all-school assembly Jan. 31.

A fleet of buses transported freshmen and sophomore from the south campus in Western Springs to join upperclassmen to the north for the 14th year, and with a deafening display of school spirit.

The extravaganza started and ended with star power. Jim Cornelison, the national anthem singer for the Chicago Blackhawks, led “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The premiere of a video followed on giant screens in the fieldhouse commemorating the school’s 125th anniversary. Students shot and prepared two videos in the fall showcasing the school and invited alumni and community members to contribute to the second video.

“We had a whole story line for the video, and then we went live to cameras as the student emcees made their entrance,” said Peter Geddeis, student council adviser who coordinated the assembly. “We switched to the live cameras, and the crowd went insane.”

A series of friendly rivalries followed, including a staff karaoke competition and a classical contest pitting the Latin Club against the Greek Club for a chariot race. In a cheering contest, the Class of 2013 proved to have the best lungs and won a discount burrito day for their bragging rights.

The two-hour assembly also showcased the talents of LT’s Pom Pon squads, cheerleaders and Winter Guard flag group.

Just when the crowd’s adrenaline seemed to peak, a gravity-defying performance by the Jesse White Tumblers pushed the Lions’ enthusiasm higher. Students were on their feet applauding the talented gymnasts who soared over obstacles with a series of leaps, tucks and twists.

Students remained standing to cheer for a mini Special Olympics Basketball game with the White, Blue and Gold teams taking turns on the court.

The student drum line took the stage next, executing complex rhythms on the move. Then an invitation to a guest performer brought down the house.

Feigning a touch of shyness at first, Principal David Franson picked up a pair of drumsticks and happily joined the percussionists, beating out a heart-felt performance.

Students cheered long and loud in appreciation of Franson, who will retire in June after leading his alma mater for the past decade. He introduced his successor, Hinsdale South Principal Brian Waterman.

“It was awesome,” Waterman said. “What a wonderful event, very well organized.”

Geddeis said this was the pinnacle of success for the all-school assemblies he has coordinated.

“We won’t be able to top this one,” he said. “This was a special occasion, our 125th birthday and the one time we knew everybody would be there.”

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