On a pleasant late spring Saturday morning, just outside of the main entrance to Wawasee High School, some 206 students tossed their graduation caps into the air. And following that yearly tradition, graduation ceremonies were completed for the WHS Class of 2013.
Classes for the school corporation were finished June 4 and now the 2012-13 academic year is completely finished. Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corp., welcomed the audience in the main spectator gym of WHS Saturday morning.
He said it was a year of the positive and the negative. More than one-third of the graduating class earned honors diplomas of some type and more than half earned an advanced Core 40 diploma. But it was also a year where two students took their own lives, another died of cancer and Harrison Fidler, who would have graduated with the 2013 class, died in 2009 while an eighth-grader at Wawasee Middle School.
Senior class presidents Emma Donahoe and Aaron Becker also welcomed the audience. After the national anthem, the WHS Class of 2013 entered the gym. Kim Garber, senior student, gave the invocation. Lisa Reed, class secretary and treasurer, introduced Lanae Haessig, salutatorian.
Haessig noted the world did not end in December as predicted by the Mayan calendar. She said this year’s class is an exceptional one with numerous talented athletes, musicians, artists and academic excellence. She commented the class will be able to stay in touch “with hourly Facebook updates” but it is true they will never be as closely knit as they are now.
“Life is too short to take for granted,” Haessig said. “Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards.”
Andrew Busse, class vice president, introduced Brooke Miller, valedictorian. Miller said, simply, “we survived,” and listed several classes and events the students attended while in high school. “We are one, whether we realize it or not,” she noted.
Many changes took place during the four years of high school including a new principal and assistant principal, new teachers, a new cafeteria and “those Kunos (computer tablets), too.”
“Let’s go into our future with heads held high and make a difference,” Miller said.
Don Harman, WHS principal, challenged the graduating seniors to think back on their last 12 years of school and all of the things they have learned. He said life will always present challenges and difficulties but “this is a new day and a new chance for you.”
Harman read a poem challenging the students to keep thinking positively and doing good things even though some people may not like them, support them or agree with them. “Life can kick you in the teeth sometimes, but respond by doing good anyway,” he said.
Mike Schmidt, assistant principal, read the names of each student aloud as they were presented diplomas by Harman. Then students turned their cap tassels, a candle lighting ceremony was held, the commencement ensemble hymn was performed, the benediction was given and the graduating seniors exited the gym to go outside for the cap tossing. And now 45 classes have graduated from WHS.
Fifteen seniors graduated with highest distinction this year and nine graduated with distinction. Class flower is the yellow rose, class motto is “give me one firm spot on which to stand, and I shall move the earth.” Class colors are green and white.