Graduation 2017: Get to know the top of the class

As Southside schools wrap up the 2016-17 school year, many graduates have already stepped to receive that diploma and move onto their next stages in life. As they make that transition from high school life and move on to other areas, now is a time when many graduates are reflecting back on their experiences and looking forward to creating new ones. Here, learn more about those who ranked at the tops of their classes:

Beech Grove High School

Michele Jennings

Valedictorian

GPA:  4.35

Future education:  DePauw University

Intended Major:  Biology (Pre-Med)

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? Live it up, I know everyone says that high school goes by fast and you never really believe them until it is happening to you. I feel like I was just walking in to BGHS for the first time, so go to as many sporting events as you can, go see the drama productions and band/choir concerts, join clubs, get involved. Enjoy high school to its fullest potential because with a blink of an eye, it will be over. 

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey? My family is the most important thing to me and they are the ones who push me to my fullest potential. Everything I do is for them and to make them proud. My brother, Michael, set a pretty high precedent here at BGHS so I’ve tried to live up to his standards. I also could not have made it through high school without my friends. Claire, Kylee, and Chase were always there to make me laugh or help me through the tough times and I cannot thank them enough.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? A Life Well Lived

Carter

Connor Carter

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.31

Future Education:  Indiana University

Intended Major:  Accounting

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? Attendance is key to success and get involved in school.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey? My two older brothers.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? Wish I Knew Then, What I Know Now

Center Grove Community High School

Sarah Ashley Varney

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.864

Future education: Purdue University Honors College

Intended major: Biochemistry, pharmacy, or chemical engineering

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? Walk with a purpose in the halls, and it is ok to not do your homework. Just be sure it doesn’t become a habit.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey? I have had several inspiring teachers, including Mr. Lawson and Mr. Kominowski, who have helped me develop my time management skills, writing abilities, and love for chemistry.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be?

Friends, Family, and Faith: Things that Actually Matter – this is the most important lesson I’ve learned in high school, and I’m sure in fifty years I will still have the same view of life

Max Newport

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.821

Future education: Stanford University

Intended major: Engineering Physics

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen?

No matter what, put your interests first when it comes to coursework selection. Don’t pick classes because they’re weighted; take a class because it’s something you’re interested in. You’ll get so much more out of a class you’re passionate or curious about than a class you just took to help pad your grade. Colleges don’t want to see all weighted courses- they want to see someone who has clear focus and verifiable interest in their schoolwork.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey?

My parents have been the most supportive people for me. I’ve never been the kind of kid that asks for help with homework, and my parents often let me handle academic work independently- whenI have problems, I am the one that deals with them. But they instilled me with the confidence to be independent, and gave me the outlook towards life that fuels my dedication. They’re both fantastic role models, and if I can be half the person that my parents are, I’ll know that I’ve succeeded in life.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be?

I Know Nothing: The Guide to Knowing Everything

Franklin Central High School

Khoury

Amani Beesan Khoury

Valedictorian

GPA:  4.478

Future Education:  Indiana University – Bloomington

Intended Major: Environmental Science and Pre-law

What piece of advice would you give to underclassmen?  As you enter high school, or even in middle school, find your passion, and find a way to use that passion to help others. My passion is reading, and I worked with the Franklin Central Key Club to bring my passion for reading to our community through the Little Free Library project. We held book drives, read to children at the elementary schools, wrote grant requests, and built and placed free libraries around our community. When you are pursuing opportunities after high school, grades are important, but you need something to set you apart from the rest. Take your passion, and make an impact.

Who has guided you most through your high school journey?  My parents have served as my guides, as well as my biggest supporters throughout my high school journey. They have spent many late nights with me, helping me study or waiting with me as I finish my homework after being home late from a meet. When faced with a challenge, my parents are the first ones to tell me how much faith they have in me. I would not be where I am today without them.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book.  What would the title be?  Sea the Change: Save Our Oceans

Miller

Grace Miller

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.43

Future education: IUPUI

Intended major: Business Administration

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? I would like to quote Maya Angelou, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you did or said, they will remember how you made them feel.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey? My mother has guided me most of my high school journey.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? A Lifetime of Adventures.

Greenwood Community High School

Hargett

Connor Hargett

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.58

Future education: IU Bloomington

Intended major: Biochemistry

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? I’d advise them to keep in mind that life presents a number of options, often unexpectedly, and that they should keep an eye out for them.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey? I’ve mainly been guided by my own drives and aspirations. I’ve always aimed to get admitted to a quality university and soon I’ll be attending one.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? I couldn’t tell you. I already practice creative writing as a hobby, but coming up with titles is always difficult for me. It would depend on the genre and subject matter.

Rapp

Adam Rapp

Salutatorian

Future Education: Indiana University

Intended Major: Finance and statistics

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? I would say be true to yourself. Do not change to fit in, be as you are and enjoy these years with your friends.

Who has guided you most through your high school journey? My father. He was always there for me. There was definitely rough and good times, but he helped me through them all.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? Replay: My Life in Color

Lutheran High School of Indianapolis

Murphy

Marshall Murphy

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.1522

Future education: 4 year degree, possible graduate studies

Intended major: Commercial Music & Worship Arts

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen?  ‘Put in the work at school so that you have time to kick back at home.  Finding a ballance of hard work and free time is essential.’

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey?  Jared Brutcher; close friend, colleague, associate and personal motivator.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? (I honestly am not sure.  We’ll see if I do.)

Brutcher

Jared Brutcher

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.316

Future Education: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Intended Major: Double Major in Computer Engineering and Engineering Physics

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen?: Take classes that challenge you and you will be successful, don’t get stuck in a “cannot do” attitude but apply yourself and you will find that you can do anything.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey?: The person that has guided me the most throughout my high school physics/chemistry teacher. He has pushed me more than any other teacher and taught me how to work hard and study efficiently.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be?: How to Send Bees into Space.

Perry Meridian High School

Shellenberger

Erika Shellenberger

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.638

Future education: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Intended major: Civil Engineering

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? In subject matter you are not especially fond off, work hard. Do not shy away because you do not like it. And then reflect on how much you have improved. It is amazing what one year with a passionate English teacher can do for a math driven brain.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey? Mrs. Emily Steinmetz, Assistant Athletic Director.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? Dream Chaser

Carper

Patrick Carper

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.5987

Future education: Wabash College

Intended major: Economics and Mathematics

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? Actively seek out lessons from the experiences you have and people you encounter.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey? Mr. Chris Allen, former competitive bodybuilder turned calculus teacher

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? An American Odyssey: From Sea to Shining Sea, on Foot

Roncalli High School

Whalen and Otley.

Claire Whalen

Valedictorian

GPA: Throughout my high school career, I have chosen not to share this.

Future education: University of Notre Dame

Intended major: Psychology and Pre-Medicine

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen?

Give your best to what you do because it really does pay off, but don’t allow your life to be dominated by worrying about one thing like school or sports. Go support other activities like musicals, speech, and other sports. Live your life and enjoy high school, your friends, and your family because you can only experience this time in your life once, and it is a pretty amazing experience! 

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey?

I have definitely had the most guidance from my parents. They have been so incredible because they have always offered support and encouragement, but never forced me to take the classes I took or do the activities I did. Their main concern was that I was happy and enjoying what I was doing, and to know they were always supporting me and being there for me with advice or just a hug is something for which I will always be grateful!

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be?

Love One Another: Appreciating All the Unique People Around You

Michael Otley

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.5140

Future education: Purdue University

Intended major: Engineering

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? Always start strong and put in as much work as possible during your first three years. It’s going to be rough, but you will reap the rewards come senior year.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey? My four brothers.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? Arguably Just Above Average

Southport High School

Sullivan

Erin Sullivan

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.656

Future education: University of Notre Dame

Intended major: Mathematics

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? Do not let others define who you are and to consistently set goals.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey? My parents have guided me most through my high school career because they always went to every single one of my athletic games and meets , and the support that they gave through high school has paved the way for my future.

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? My Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Cheng

Xingyu Cheng

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.6346

Future education: Purdue University

Intended major: Mathematics

What piece of advice would you give underclassmen? Go for every opportunity you can find. You need to be smart and sociable, so be involved in every opportunity you can get your hands on. Be an interesting person, and don’t just fade into the background.

Who has guided you the most through your high school journey? Mr. Mike Taylor

In 50 years, suppose you were to write a book. What would the title be? High School Calculus, a rigorous approach