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Kouts graduates move on to the next chapter

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KOUTS | Kouts High School valedictorian Megan Heinold asked her fellow graduates to look at each other and “savor the moment.”

“Today is the first day of the rest of our lives ... it’s probably all downhill from here,” she said. “Just kidding — I hope not.”

Heinold was the top student among 60 graduates at the high school’s commencement exercises Friday evening.

Salutatorian Kayla Moyer encouraged her classmates to “finish strong” and “put forth 100 percent of your effort to the task at hand.”

“We have finished our school year strong, so many have excelled academically,” Moyer said. “To finish strong is to finish proud. Congratulations.”

The evening’s ceremony was preceded by a traditional baccalaureate service featuring Pastor Jay Birky of Cornerstone Community Church.

Graduates expressed appreciation of the intimate setting of the Kouts school system.

Although she valued the one-on-one attention she received at Kouts schools, honors diploma graduate Sydney Kuchenmeister is “mostly happy to move on to college” at Indiana University in the fall to study accounting.

“I wanted a bigger school after going to such a small school,” said Kuchenmeister, who was in band, Spell Bowl, and National Honor Society. “I wanted a different experience.”

Best friends Tyler Paulus and Gavin Hammerberg will continue to “hang out,” since they are going to school in the area.

Paulus heads to Purdue North Central to study nursing, while Hammerberg will attend Ivy Tech for general studies to prepare to study music in the future.

Paulus transferred from Valparaiso High School when she was a junior and really liked attending a “smaller school.”

“You get more attention from teachers and they really care about your grades,” Paulus said.

Although he’ll miss track, student government, and robotics — “all the nerdy stuff” — Josh Otero is excited about the possibilities at Manchester University in Manchester, Ind.

“It’s close enough to home but far enough away that I’m independent,” said Otero, who hopes to study pharmacy. “I’ll miss seeing everyone every day — it’s going to be weird.”

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