Leaving a Legacy: The Class of 2023


Class of 2023 at their last Homecoming pep rally cheering for the spirit stick.

Gabe Landon, Managing Editor

Every class to pass through Carterville High School brings something special with them. Whether it be with their energy, academic success, or athletic talent, the Class of 2023 has proven that they truly have them all! 

The Class of 2023 has had a reputation to be one of the largest classes to ever go through Carterville Unit School District 5. While they are a massive class, their successes have been even more monumental to the district. They have consistently paved the way for following classes all throughout their journey. Let’s take a look through time to see some of the class’ most recognizable moments!

Way back when, in the 2018-2019 school year at Carterville Junior High School (CJHS), the Class of 2023 were little 8th graders patiently waiting to become freshmen. Looking back, it was evident that they had extreme athletic potential, but their eighth-grade year is what really ‘put them on the map.’

During that year, all sports teams excelled and teams like cheer and softball made it to their respective state championship competitions. The cheer team took home the state title and softball attained second. Achievements that had not been accomplished ever in school history! 

Moving into their high school careers, the Class of 2023 continued their success. Even though their freshman-year seasons were cut short, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many sports were able to finish out their seasons. In 2020, for the first time in school history, the CHS competitive cheer team won a state title, in which 4 members of the Class of 2023 were a part of.

Senior Ashley Jackson recalls the moments they found out that they had won, “Hearing “your 2020 small division state champions is Carterville” is something truly indescribable. We had no expectation of winning, so that gave an extra bit of excitement. I was full of so much joy, excitement, and so incredibly proud of myself and my team. I could not stop smiling from pure joy and feeling so accomplished and how proud I was to be a Carterville lion!” 

Along with the cheer team, many other sports have made history with members of the Class of 2023 on them. The 2019-2020 girls’ basketball team made it to the state championship games and received 3rd place. In addition, the 2021 season of girls volleyball won sectionals for the first time ever. It is safe to say that the Class of 2023 is a class determined to break school records.   

While sports may seem to be their class’s strong suit, they don’t just stop there. Academically, they have excelled as well. Over half of the class has achieved either honors or high honors. Many students in the Class of 2023 have participated in advanced and AP classes, along with taking online and in-person classes at John A. Logan Community College. 

Due to the Cohort program at CHS, where students can take select John A. Logan classes here at the school in the morning, a large portion of the class will be finishing out their high school careers almost completed with their associate’s degrees. 

Senior Abigail Banks, who participates in the Cohort program says that it is “really amazing that there was a way to complete 12 credit hours through John A. Logan, and it having the ability to do it here at the high school. It was really cost efficient and now I will graduate with almost all of my associate’s degree completed!”

While many students are planning on staying home to attend John A. Logan or Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC), the class is filled with many students who are going to top universities all around. Students like senior Ally Lange who is going to Colorado State University (CSU) at Pueblo, are traveling all across the country for higher education. 

Lange is not only attending CSU to continue her volleyball career, but she will also be studying to become a registered nurse. Due to her academic success and prior CNA training from John A. Logan, she was able to make it into the advanced nursing program at CSU. 

Finally, the energy that the Class of 2023 brings to CHS has been completely unmatched. They have been known to be the loudest group at any and every school event. They show up ready to support all of our lions no matter what they are competing in. Whether it be pep rallies, where they made everyone get up on their feet, or athletic games cheering their classmates on, their school spirit is like none other. 

Senior Rylee Davis vividly remembers her very last homecoming pep rally when she was “leading the cheer off, I had no doubt in my mind that the senior class would go all out. When I got to them for their turn, they proved me right and screamed so loud I could hardly hear the thoughts in my head. I was so incredibly proud of my class and how they showed their love for our school.” To say that the energy they brought will be missed is a sheer understatement, but everyone is excited for what the future holds now that they have raised the bar for the rest of CHS.      

The Class of 2023 has had some of the most difficult high school years, but they took what they were given and created the best years of their lives. The rest of the CHS student body will miss them so much, because not only were they our schoolmates, but they were our best friends. It has been a privilege to share this school with them. Orange and blue run through their veins, and as we like to say, once a lion always a lion.