Wawasee has had a strong academic reputation for several years and this year was clearly not an exception. Of the 206 students to receive diplomas Saturday, three-fourths will further their schooling. A total of 67 students earned an academic honors diploma, 14 graduated with highest distinction, 11 received a technical honors diploma and four graduated with distinction.
Don Harman, completing his second year as principal of WHS, told the students much had happened during their 13 years of school. He said graduates will face a world, as often reported in the news media, with a struggling economy, high crime rate, excessive drug use and terrorism, but there is still much to be thankful for. “The best part is, the sun always comes up the next morning,” he said.
He noted some may have achieved graduation faster or were more successful, “but in the end we are all here.”
Sophia Katsaropoulos, salutatorian, was introduced by Sarah Steele, class secretary and treasurer. Katsaropoulos said the world expects most graduates to find a job, get married and raise a family. “But why should the world expect that from us, when we are all so different,” she said, acknowledging the varying talents and skills found in the high school.
She quoted Abraham Lincoln, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” She challenged her classmates to be good at whatever they choose to do.
Frank Dush, valedictorian, said the Class of 2012 was full of high caliber singers, musicians and artists. “But we also filled the papers with stories of charity and kindness,” he added.
In the end, he said, students will likely remember times with friends most of all. He was introduced by Sarah Rozow, class vice president.
Mike Schmidt, assistant principal at WHS, read the names of each student as they walked across the platform set up on the south end of the gym to receive their diploma from Harman.
Dush introduced the Class of 2012 to the audience, students turned their tassels as they were given a standing ovation and they were officially graduates of Wawasee High School.
There was a brief candle lighting ceremony, then the graduates left the gym to go just outside the main entrance of the high school for the traditional cap toss. Cameras snapped furiously as friends and family took photos of the students posing with their classmates.
Class flower is the yellow rose, class motto is “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, and the class colors are green and white.
The Class of 2012 dedicated the center candle to the memory of friends and classmates unable to attend graduation.