Setting goals and making dreams come true was the theme for the Ben Davis University High School commencement held May 26.
Principal Wendy Skibinski encouraged the graduates for the final time in their high school career.
“I believe in the depth of your abilities and skills,” Skibinski said. “You have what it takes to succeed. But this is not a time to sit back and relax.”
The Class of 2012 has 75 graduating members.
Class president Ashalyn Hardy asked her peers to take a moment to cherish the last moments they had together as a class.
“Just take a breath,” she said. “We may not be a family but we’ve been in this together.”
She spoke about her disappointment when she found out she was not accepted to Stanford University.
“I felt terrible,” Hardy said. “I asked God how I could get so close and not get it. I cried, prayed, and cried again. But I learned that everything in life does not work out.”
“I decided then that I would be OK and I would not be angry or resentful,” she said. “The very next week I call a phone call from Butler University and got a full-ride scholarship.”
“We have to surrender and find our passion,” Hardy said. “And don’t be afraid to fail. Follow your heard and do what you love.”
Valedictorian Ajlal Zaidi used his sense of humor when he spoke about how special his peers have been to him.
“There are lots of things that make us special,” he said. “We were in the first grade in 2001 and 12th grade in 2012. That only happens like once in 100 years so that makes us special.”
“And we are going to be doctors, lawyers, and business leaders,” Zaidi said. “We are the future. Please don’t be scared.”
He said when he was a kid he would pee his pants and wipe snot on his left sleeve.
“And four years ago I though Soulja Boy was the greatest thing that ever happened,” he said. “I also didn’t speak a lick of English when I came to this country and I stand before you as the valedictorian. I’d say that was a feel-good story.”
“And here’s my advice to you as we head to college,” Zaidi said. “Chill out, don’t burn out, and now I’m out.”
Students at BDU graduate with both a high school diploma and a degree from Vincennes University. Dr. Jeffrey Butts, superintendent of the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, and Dr. Richard Helton, President of Vincennes University, both spoke to the students about their accomplishments in the program.
“I read something on Twitter a few weeks ago that I just keep coming back to,” Butts said. “‘A person who does not read is no better than a person who cannot read. Will you read and use what this faculty has taught you?”
“I want you to think of your life as a book,” Butts added. “Will this be the beginning of your book, the middle, or the latter part of your book. Think about what people will think who read your book. Please take time to consider what the next chapter is.”
Helton moved down off the stage to be near the Class of 2012.
“I like to be near bright people,” he said. “And I think it is fitting that we are in a gymnasium today because this is all about competition.”
He said as the student body continues their education or enters the workforce they will be competing with people from around the world.
“It’s important for you to know that there are more honors students in India than we have total students in our country,” he said. “You are the best and the brightest. We are not giving you a diploma. You’ve earned it.”