CHESTERTON | The Chesterton High School gymnasium became a sea of maroon robes as the Class of 2013 marched in to Elgar’s "Pomp and Circumstance" at the 123rd annual commencement Thursday evening.
The students chose government and economics teacher Bryan Nallenweg, a Chesterton High alumnus, to give the commencement address.
Nallenweg stressed the importance of hard work in achieving success, quoting “fellow Hoosier” and basketball coaching legend John Wooden.
“Nothing will work unless you do,” said Nallenweg, citing Wooden.
“If you are not willing to put in the hard work necessary, your plan will never be realized,” said Nallenweg. “Hard work cannot only occur on the sunny days.”
Graduate Amber Bryant’s thoughts on high school echoed Nallenweg’s message.
“It was fun and hard at the same time. I felt like there were many obstacles to get to this point ... Oh, I’m going to cry,” said Bryant, tearing up. “But this is what I worked hard for. When you work hard, it pays off.”
April Boatright, Bryant’s friend, said she learned how not to procrastinate in high school.
“It’s hard work and a lot of time management,” said Boatright, who will pursue a degree in special education in college.
Cheryl Fifield said her graduating son, Cory, sailed through high school.
“He rarely studied and made honor roll most of the time,” said Fifield.
As a result, Cory Fifield said he was “a little nervous” about studying computer programming at Purdue North Central in the fall.
“I’ll probably miss the easy stuff,” said Cory Fifield. “But hopefully, I’m going to enjoy it.”
Nick Barango said high school was “very unpredictable.”
“Academically and athletically, there’s been a lot of twists and turns,” said Barango.
The soccer and track star will attend Calumet College of St. Joseph to study creative writing, thanks to an athletic scholarship.
Dad Vincent Barango said the graduation of his youngest also signals “the end of an era” for him as a parent.
“It’s tough,” said Vincent Barango, camera in hand. “Knowing we won’t be involved in the school system anymore. ... It marks an era. It shows your age.”
Nallenweg said 3.4 million high school students will receive diplomas this year, and he implored the students to stand out from the crowd.
“All the graduates here tonight have the talent to do something spectacular,” said Nallenweg. “If you work hard, success will find you.”