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#1StudentNWI: Reflections of a Graduate at Valparaiso High School


The end of the school year brings in a lot of things; excitement, fear, uncertainty, and most of all, change. For the 2017 graduating class of Valparaiso High School, all of these things are applicable. Their whole lives up to this point have been spent working their way to the end goal of graduating high school.

Senior, Carter Dahlgren, had a lot to say in regard to how he felt about the last four years of his life's work coming to a close.

Dahlgren said something that sums up graduation pretty well: “I'm just glad to be done.”

It sounds so simple and plain, but over the course of our four years in high school, a lot happens. His time at VHS will be remembered fondly, as will every single student’s that was sitting in the main gym on Friday June 9th, when Valpo High held their commencement ceremony for the Class of 2017. Amongst the various classes and exams that HS students take, students take a part of transformations beyond just theoretical understanding. They evolve and change and become new people while sitting in these halls, and no one who enters them as a freshman is ever the same when they walk out for the very last time as a senior. Carter responded to more questions about his time here at VHS, to give a look into the mindset of a graduate.

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“I’m just glad to be done with it all finally. It’s been a long four years. I loved it, but wow am I glad it’s over,”

Dahlgren has big plans to come after his last walk across the stage as a Valparaiso Viking.

“I’ll be going to Ball State University in the fall. I’m thinking of studying telecommunications and media studies. Over the summer I am working at Discovery Day Camp as a camp counselor. I even have a counselor nickname: Bear.” he stated.

One of the hardest parts of leaving High School is often the distance between friends that we have all come to know so fondly.

Dahlgren added “Most of my friends are going to either Indiana University, Ball State, or Purdue. I do have a couple friends who are going into the Air Force.”

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“I have a ton of fond memories from over the last four years. A lot of them pertain to just goofing around with my friends and having fun, starting trouble. Whether it be during football or when I was making one of my videos for a class project, we goofed around a lot.”

The viewpoint of the graduating student is one of immense relief, finally being able to pursue their dreams outside of the confines of a high school. For Carter Dahlgren, he is just enjoying the freedom of a closing door, while awaiting the opening of another. The future is opening up for Carter and every other graduate who was sitting there Friday evening, with their families and loved ones looking upon them with admiration and pride. Changes were an instrumental part of high school, and the class of 2017 is about to experience the biggest change of their lives; leaving home in hope of greater pastures.

While the students are always evolving and growing, the same goes for the faculty. Few people will have such an instrumental impact on the lives of youth than the teachers that guide them through their formative years. Teachers affect the lives to an almost equal amount as parents, and that’s why I asked a teacher at Valpo High School what her thought were on graduation and the future of our school.

The high school is going through a lot of changes currently, what with the numerous construction projects happening at the school as a part of the $148 million referendum passed a couple years ago. Mrs. Kara Wissing is a teacher that has been with the school for over a decade, seeing a multitude of changes as the school, it’s staff, and student body has gone through phases. Given the background of her history at VHS, her input on graduation is an honest and valuable one.

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“My favorite part of graduation actually happens after the ceremony itself- it's when I get to physically hand the seniors their diploma. It's so awesome to see their faces light up with all of their excitement. I usually end up getting hugged a lot!” said Wissing.

When asked about her favorite teacher from her high school experience, Wissing stated “Wow this is a tough one but I would say my favorite teacher my senior year was my Psychology and Sociology teacher, Mr. Vitek. He was also my World History Teacher by freshman year. He definitely encouraged me to become a social studies teacher, and had a great way to make the classes interesting and fun, which can be difficult!”.

The changes to come at Valparaiso High School affect teachers and students both, but Mrs. Wissing has a lot to look forward to when the 2017-2018 school year rolls around.

“I am looking forward to all of the changes at the high school next year, with all students having devices, all of the new constructions happening, and my new job of teaching and being a technology integration coach for other high school teachers. This means I will only be teaching 3 classes a day, and then spending the rest of the day working with other teachers to bring more technology into their classrooms.”

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