To the future: NWHS Class of 2013 says goodbye

NAPPANEE — The Class of 2013 was celebrated with “Pomp and Circumstance” during graduation ceremonies held at NorthWood High School on June 7.
During his welcome and introduction, Principal David Maugel,applauded the many academic, athletic, vocal, acoustic and agricultural achievements and awards the class had earned over the past four years – including advancement to state level competitions with several state titles among them.
The 2013 graduating class at NWHS had—among many other accomplishments – Distinguished Honor Roll students totaling 72 in number; 27 NWHS National Honor Society members; 87 Academic Honors Diploma holders; and eight Elkhart Area Career Center National Honor Society members.
Maugel also paid homage to the tremendous support students had shown classmate Tori Graff, who was seriously injured in an accident in the school parking lot on the last day of school.
Class Speaker Emily Hoffman also noted with affection the class’s outreach to Graff who was unable to attend graduation due to her injuries.
Maugel assured graduates their support had been greatly appreciated by Graff and her family.
“Tori’s parents sent their thanks to all of you tonight for all of your kindness and support for her following her accident last week,” said the principal.
For other students, medical challenges came much earlier in life.
Katie Carney was born severely premature and suffered a stroke at birth.
Both challenged Carney’s balance and academic progress which she took in stride and managed to keep up with healthier peers.
Carney’s classmate, Andrew Stull, came into the world facing life-threatening medical issues.
Born with a ventricular septal defect – no lining between the right and left ventricles inside his heart – Stull had to face high-risk surgery as a newborn to correct the problem.
He was days short of turning 9 months old when he underwent the surgery.
After several years of healing, Stull continued life with many physical limitations. Eighteen years later, he has managed to work past those limitations and lead a normal life.
“When I look at Andy, he had such a rough start,” said his mother, Elaine Stull. “He almost didn’t make it to his first birthday. I’m just so proud of him– all the things he’s done in his life. He’s always been such a blessing – and wonderful.”
Andrew Stull studied electronic robotics at the Elkhart Area Career Center and plans to develop a career in that field.
Speakers offer insight
In his speech, “Two Hundred Different Meanings,” Spencer Culp took a look at the four years he had shared with classmates and how it meant so many different things to each of them.
Now completing their high school careers Culp asked his graduating peers, “Will we succeed?”
With a gleam in his eye, Culp answered his own question: “Indeed we will. It’s a 98-and-three-fourths percent guarantee.”
Speaker Emily Hoffman followed up on that note, beginning her speech with the quote, “‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.’”
Top honors
Six seniors were named valedictorians for the graduating class. There is one a salutatorian.
Valedictorians are: Spencer Culp, Alexandra Hochstetler, Ryan Kelly, Cally Miller, Madelyn Schwartz and Taylor Stutzman.
Ana Andriano is the salutatorian.
Class colors were purple and silver. The class flower was a purple rose.