Natalie Khmelevsky gives her address as valedictorian during the 2024 CHS commencement exercise.

CEDARBURG 鈥 Another school year, another class of high school graduates throw their caps in the air in celebration for moving on to the next big steps in their lives.

The Cedarburg High School class of 2024 gathered on Sunday at the Field House to receive their diplomas. The former high school students also heard from their valedictorian, Natalie Khmelevsky. Her speech was centered around the quote "You must do the things you think you can鈥檛 do" and how the everyday challenges should be the spark that brings inspiration..

"I was so nervous leading up to graduation," Khmelevsky said about giving her speech. "Every time I practiced the speech I could feel myself shaking. However, on the day of, I couldn鈥檛 have been calmer. Standing up at the microphone, I wasn鈥檛 nervous at all. I felt completely confident and honestly excited. Afterwards, I was proud of my delivery and felt good walking back to my seat."

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Khmelevsky was at a loss for words when CHS Principal Casey Bowe told her that she was valedictorian.

"I was hoping to be salutatorian, but it never crossed my mind that I would be valedictorian," she said. "Leaving his office, I walked back to class in shock. I was proud of myself, but the best part was definitely seeing my friends and families鈥 reactions when I told them!鈥

It wasn鈥檛 always a goal for Khmelevsky to become top of her class; she just strived for good grades for herself and college applications.

鈥淲hen I found out I was top two halfway through junior year, I worked hard to stay there,鈥 Khmelevsky said.

Khmelevsky kept herself challenged while at CHS by taking over a dozen AP classes. She also took calculus and analytical geometry III through the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater this year.

鈥淚 really enjoyed how indepth the content went in my AP classes,鈥 Khmelevsky said. 鈥淭he information was always very engaging to me!鈥

Some of Khmelevsky鈥檚 favorite classes included all of the art ones, such as Drawing and AP studio, and AP government and politics, where she enjoyed learning about certain court cases.

Khmelevsky had many teachers who she loved during her time in high school, but if she had to whittle down her long list she would select the social studies department.

鈥淭hey always felt like a home to me,鈥 she said. 鈥淏ut really, so many of the teachers I had I am so grateful for.鈥

Khmelevsky also kept herself busy outside of school. She tutored math, French and English, and was involved in French Club, Art Club, Math Team, National Honors Society, REDGen, Debate, Model UN and Coding Club.

In addition, Khmelevsky collected over 360 hours of volunteering. She served as a student ambassador for the Cedarburg Education Foundation for the past four years and assisted in various programs with the Cedarburg Art Museum. Khmelevsky was even able to intern at the museum last summer and helped with the Main Street Art Camp.

Khmelevsky is planning on attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall.

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