The valedictorian of this year’s graduating class at Trinity Lutheran High School pulled out a box of tools during his speech Saturday morning in the school’s gymnasium.
Each of the tools, which included a wrench, level and hammer, represented pieces of knowledge the students learned through math, history and English and other classes during their four years at the Lutheran school.
Hunter Carlsen eventually held up a Bible and told the 37 seniors sitting before him wearing their caps and gowns that the toolbox also contains spiritual wisdom, the greatest tool of all.
“We know Christ goes with us wherever that may be,” Carlsen said. “We leave wielding the sharp tools needed to defend our faith and the finer tools needed to sow it.”
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Saturday’s commencement service at the Seymour school also included encouraging words from Principal Daniel Sievert and Seth Patterson, the class salutatorian.
Patterson’s father, Pastor Jeff Patterson of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church of Brownstown, gave the commencement sermon, and Justin Vorthmann, a teacher, had the commencement address.
In between, prayers were read, hymns were sung and the school’s choir and band performed.
Then the group of students stood one last time as seniors before they walked across the stage and received their diplomas as graduates of Trinity.
“It hasn’t sunk in,” Angi Bergstedt said. “I feel like I’m going to come back next week and see everybody, and I know that I’m not. But it’s like I haven’t gotten that feeling yet.”
The Trinity grad plans to attend IUPUI next year and study social work.
“I’m actually adopted, so that’s the field I want to work in,” she said. “I want to help parents adopt.”
Bergstedt, who said her favorite high school memory was senior skip day when the class visited the Indianapolis Zoo, said her main piece of advice to upcoming seniors is to not stress out because time flies by.
“Don’t take moments for granted,” she said.
Graduating senior Sydney Stuckwisch said new seniors and other students should get involved in anything that might interest them.
“Don’t be afraid to get involved in things because that’s what makes it so fun,” she said. “You can get a whole new group of friends.”
Stuckwisch has a scholarship to attend Franklin College and will play volleyball there.
She also plans to study applied mathematics — a subject her favorite teacher, Justin Vorthmann, kept her interested in.
“He really got me to love math,” she said. “It’s my favorite subject.”
Graduating senior Keenan Scifres said he plans to attend Lincoln Tech in Indianapolis to study collision repair.
“I like cars and it’s close to home,” the Dudleytown resident said.
He said he felt a mixture of nerves and excitement before receiving his diploma.
“I’m ready to move on to the next chapter in my life,” he said.
Shelby Nierman plans to attend Purdue University in West Lafayette where she’ll study human development and family studies in the fall.
“Eventually, I want to work in a children’s hospital with sick kids and their families,” the Brownstown resident said.
She said the hardest part about high school was balancing everything from homework to extracurricular activities. After all, she was involved in tennis, golf, FFA, dance committee and National Honor Society to name a few.
“It’s hard getting things done that you know are important and staying focused,” she said.
Her piece of advice for students would be to enjoy the moment right now.
“You’re never going to have it again,” she said. “It goes by so quick.”