The 128th annual
Chesterton High School commencement exercises were held Thursday, May 31,
beginning at 7 p.m., at the CHS Football Stadium.
crowd, estimated at around 4,000 people, gathered in the stadium to witness
the ceremony. Parents, grandparents, friends and other relations turned out
to cheer and applaud for the graduates of the Class of 2018.
Mother Nature did
cooperate, and though it was very warm and intermittent storms threatened,
the rain held off until the ceremony and celebrations were largely over.
Special tribute was
given to Amera Mohammed Abukahmeh, a classmate lost to a tragic traffic
accident, as well as a member of the class of 2019 and two older alumni who
met with tragedy. A moment of silence followed the reading of Abukahmeh’s
name, the first in the list of graduates.
Jennifer Jendrzejczyk, reminded the class how they came together and helped
each other through that tragedy. “Grit and empathy carried us,” she said.
The Class of 2018
has been weathering change since childhood, as they were babies on 9-11, and
have lived through dramatic change in science and technology, and are coming
of age in a time of rapid political change, Jendrzejczyk said.
She noted that the
class had risen to the challenge of helping each other through difficult
times. She urged them to continue those efforts. “Put down the phone,” she
told them, to raucous applause, and invest the time to “purposefully pursue
“Show up for the
people who need you,” she told the graduates. “Be curious, rather than
judgmental,” she advised. “We need others and others need us. Establish real
connections and work to keep them.”
commencement speaker Brinley Fowler shared with her classmates that she has
been singing or humming the theme from “Hercules,” for inspiration since
middle school. It has helped her “go the distance” in facing difficulties.
She thought high school would be different from middle school, but quickly
learned she would still face challenges when she realized one day she’d
shown up to school with no shoes on. And she had to retake Geometry. But she
has continued to strive. “Life will knock you in the mouth,” she said, “You
may be up against the ropes, but don’t give up.”
“Your ‘why’ must be
greater,” than any challenge, she said. “Be strong, be brave, be kind, be
yourselves. Good Luck”, Fowler told her classmates, “and don’t forget your
The Class of 2018
chose as their motto a quotation by author and philosopher Henry David
Thoreau, “ Our lives are before us, our pasts are behind us, but our
memories are forever with us.”
included presentation of honor students by Jeff Van Drie, Principal;
awarding of the diplomas by Dr. Ginger Bolinger, Superintendent of Schools;
James Goetz, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction; Monte
Moffett, Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Human Resources, and
the officers and members of the DSC Board of Trustees; the traditional
turning of the tassels, and closing.
presentations included the Prelude, played by the CHS Band, directed by
Michael Scheiber, and Pomp and Circumstance, by the CHS Band, and directed
by E. Elgar.
The senior Choir
members joined in their last song together “A Million Dreams.”
Students broke into
spontaneous and raucous cheers after turning their tassels, led by Student
Government President Amber Heilimann. A bright sunset highlighted
spectacular thunder clouds over the stadium as evening stole over the
gathering. Graduates tossed their mortar boards into the air and cheered for
the end of this particular chapter of their lives.