Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Chesterton High School graduates Class of 2018

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By MARGARET L. WILLIS

The 128th annual Chesterton High School commencement exercises were held Thursday, May 31, beginning at 7 p.m., at the CHS Football Stadium.

A substantial 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.

Faculty speaker, 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 human relationships.

“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.”

Student 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 shoes!”

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.”

The program 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.

Musical 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.

 

Posted 6/1/2018

 
 
 
 

 

 

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