KOUTS | Friends and family gathered Friday night to celebrate their high school graduates and inspire them to reach high in their next steps.
Principal Terry Brownell said the 2013 class, which is the 106th group to graduate from Kouts, is extremely talented.
“We’ve got National Merit Scholars, state athletes, Spell Bowl champs, and a three-time winner of the Porter County Attitude Award," Brownell said.
Co-valedictorian Andrew Birky commented on the unique experience that comes from having Kouts elementary, middle and high schools together on the same campus.
“It’s a way of marking time,” he said. “Seeing the younger kids makes you more aware of your own growth each year.”
Ellen Fortin, another graduate, appreciates Kouts’ welcoming environment.
“It’s been really good to be a student here. I really fit in more than I might in a bigger school. It’s like family here," Fortin said.
Kouts gave honorary diplomas to two exchange students, Mariya Sergeyevna Tarasova, of Russia, and Sophie Nai Guo, of China. But the exchange program has extraordinary significance for the Crowley family.
Mike and Jill Crowley adopted their daughter Faith Crowley from China, so hosting Nai Guo has given their family an unparalleled opportunity to learn about Chinese culture right at home. Also, after graduation, Faith will return with Nai Guo to spend a month in China.
Ryan Derolf, 2013 class president, opened the ceremony with a prayer of thanksgiving “for all the people who used their energy and skills to help us graduate today, teachers and staff, family and friends.”
Pastor Kevin Birky, of Mulberry Tree Ministries, incorporated the choir’s special song “Breakaway” into his address.
“I wholeheartedly encourage you to do just that,” he said. “Break away from the limits of materialism and selfishness in our culture and world. Become a nobody who serves everybody to reach somebody.”
Kouts High School also added alumni Lee Ann (Kneifel) Kwiatkowski (class of 1980) and Allan Hefner (class of 1968) to its Wall of Fame in recognition of their career success and contributions to their community.