SYRACUSE — As is the tradition, graduating Wawasee High School seniors walk down the long hallway from the spectator gym outside the building through the main entrance of the school and, when given the signal, toss their caps into the air. They were official graduates before tossing their caps, but the tradition is a fitting end to the graduation ceremony.
A total of 219 WHS students received their diplomas during commencement exercises Sunday afternoon, June 2, in the main spectator gym of the high school. As was noted by Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation, during his welcoming remarks, “fifty years of graduates have already passed through and today begins the next half century.”
He noted the class of 2019 has “good minds and good hearts.” Of the 219 graduates, 15 graduated with the highest distinction, nine graduated with distinction, 61 received an academic honors diploma, 20 both an academic and technical honors diploma and eight received a technical honors diploma.
Caleb Van Lue, salutatorian who was introduced by Jared Krugman, shared “this could be the last time we will see each other in our lives.” He noted many things can make up the high school experience including 7:30 a.m. alarms, failing tests and more.
He told his fellow seniors “we all have a fresh start, a completely new beginning.” He also noted, “unless we begin the change, we are past the point of no return,” speaking of all the hatred, ignorance and intolerance in today’s world.
Kaitlin Graber, valedictorian who was introduced by Gabrielle Fiscus, said negativity has become the norm in today’s society, “but it doesn’t have to be that way.” She challenged the graduating class to not keep their skills and abilities to themselves. “What would it be worth if we kept everything to ourselves?”
She also noted the class of 2019 has the potential “to create a promising future.”
Kim Nguyen, WHS principal, said the seniors eventually became leaders for the younger students “and they became role models, someone to be looked up to.” He said the four years of high school go quickly by, but no matter what path the students take in life after graduation, “things will get difficult at some point.”
He challenged the students to not always look for the easy paths in life “and don’t quit because it’s hard.”
“You are Wawasee Warriors, now and forever,” he said in closing.
Sunday’s graduating ceremony also included brief remarks from Lesley Tayagua Lua, class president, and singing performances by Vocal Motion, the high school show choir. Graduating senior Luke Griner gave the invocation and graduating senior Mercedes Winkelman gave the benediction.
There was also the traditional turning of the tassels. For the class of 2019, the motto is “In Ourselves the Future Lies,” the class flower is the yellow rose and class colors are green and gold.