UNION TOWNSHIP | Wheeler High School Principal Don Gandy made history at the high school’s commencement ceremony Sunday afternoon.
“I will be the first principal in the state of Indiana to Instagram you,” Gandy said, snapping a photo of the Class of 2013 from the stage.
In his welcome speech, Gandy recalled his fondest memories from the year to the graduating students and their gathered friends and families.
“You, by far, are my favorite class that worked its way through the halls of WHS,” Gandy said. “You have been a phenomenal group this year.”
Gandy drew laughter and applause when he recounted his most memorable event of the year, which involved helping the custodial staff catch a chicken that got loose in the school and laid an egg in the men’s restroom.
Wishing the class well, he turned more wistful, encouraging class members to be “of service to others” no matter what path they choose.
“All of you are going to be successful in one way or another,” said Gandy. “It has been such an honor to be your principal.”
Jacqueline Ruchti, Allison Bolde, Nicholas Cinko and Daniel Gensel each addressed the class as summa cum laudes graduates, while teachers Paula Rukavina and Jessica Ball were chosen to give the commencement address.
Ruchti, also senior class president, recounted highlights from each of the four years of high school and thanked individual class members for their unique contributions.
Senior year, said Ruchti, was the year everyone had waited for — “a year of lasts.”
“No matter what your dream is, go for it,” Ruchti said.
The red, white and blue tasseled cord around his neck signified Phillip Goldstine’s next step. On Sept. 23, Goldstine will travel to San Diego, Calif., to become a Marine.
Goldstine, who was active in band at Wheeler, said he was “not really” sad to move on, except for missing his friends.
“I wanted to do something different,” he said of his decision to enlist. “I wanted a challenge.”
Lindsey Moore’s whole family – parents Larry and Niecy Moore, sister Lauren and brother Logan – witnessed her passage from high school student to high school graduate Sunday.
Moore, who participated in Spanish Club and theater in high school, will attend Ivy Tech in the fall to study physical therapy.
“It was really good, an amazing experience” said Moore, reflecting on her tenure as a Union Township student since kindergarten. “The teachers were so helpful and everyone was really focused on getting us to this point.”
Moore felt the bittersweet emotions that so often emerge this time of year.
“I’m sad, but excited for everything that comes next,” she said.