After leaving Crothersville High School, Brayden Growe said his goal in life is to get a job that makes him happy.
That may revolve around one of his longtime hobbies: Art.
"Drawing is one of my favorite pastimes that I would possibly enjoy doing in my future," Growe said. "There are so many job ideas that I enjoy a lot, including art, graphic design and history. I just don’t know exactly which one I would like to pursue."
First, the 18-year-old will participate in the school’s inaugural outdoor graduation ceremony. It was moved outside because of the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 26 members of the class will attend Friday night’s ceremony in their vehicles before going up one at a time to receive their diplomas and returning to their vehicles to parade around town so the community can show its support.
"I’m personally looking forward to the nice weather. I’m glad the ceremony will be outside instead of a stuffy gym," Growe said. "I am also glad I don’t have to set up a million chairs before the ceremony and then put them all back the day after. To the community, I say we’ve definitely had it rough this year and are in need of a little support."
Growe is among the class members who have attended school in Crothersville since kindergarten.
"I have always liked how small the school is and how easy it is to be friends with everyone," he said. "Everyone’s always close."
In high school, he played baseball the past three years and planned on playing this spring, but the season was canceled because of the virus pandemic.
He also was involved in Science Club, History Club and Students Against Destructive Decisions and was a volleyball manager his freshman year.
"Although I have learned many valuable lessons from these clubs, baseball was by far the best experience I’ve had," Growe said. "I have learned many valuable life lessons from coaches Jared Richey and Dustin ‘Guv’ Lewis."
Academically, Growe said he had a good experience at Crothersville.
"I liked how most of my classes had pretty cool teachers that you could easily get along with," he said. "Although some of them involved work that made me want to scream, some of them did help me on choosing my career path."
He said by far, his favorite teacher was Matthew Otte, who teaches health and physical education.
"One of my favorite memories with this man was when he took the Science Club on a camping field trip and the only people that went were me, my best friends and my cool grandpa, Pappy," Growe said.
Finishing the final eight weeks of his senior year at home via eLearning was different, Growe said.
"Sometimes, I would be able to get stuff done, but most of the time, it was very difficult to get motivated," he said.
It also was tough seeing the senior trip and prom be canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I was very upset when I found out I was going to miss these events," Growe said. "It’s for the best, though. Everyone needs to stay safe."
At least with graduation, school officials were able to make it happen so Growe could see his classmates again.
"I liked how we all could be there for each other and how we were all in the same boat," he said of the time spent with his classmates over the years.
"One of my favorite memories with my classmates was with a specific group of lads I usually hang out with," he said. "We had to make a short film for English class, but instead of preparing and making a script, it was all improv, and we just kind of went with it as it happened."
Moving forward, he said he will miss his classmates.
"I am mostly going to miss the group of fools I would hang out with every day," Growe said. "I’m going to miss getting yelled at by some of the teachers for talking to these fellas during every minute of class. I am very thankful that I was part of this friend group, and hopefully, we will still make dumb memories in the future."
For other Crothersville students, Growe offered some advice to help them succeed, get through high school and graduate.
"My advice to anyone struggling or trying to succeed would be to just not worry," he said. "Sticking with a group of friends also helps a ton, and remember that all the teachers are at the school for a reason: To help you succeed."
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Name: Brayden Growe
School: Crothersville High School
School activities: Baseball, Science Club, History Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions
Future plans: Enroll in a trade school for graphic design and layout
Family: Parents, Mike and Jennifer Growe; sister, Lilah Growe
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What: Crothersville High School graduation
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Drive-in-style ceremony will be near the student parking lot on the south side of the school along Preston Street; afterwards, graduates will parade around town in their vehicles to give the community an opportunity to show its support
Who: 26 members of the Class of 2020
Online: The ceremony will be broadcast via Facebook Live on the school’s page, facebook.com/cvilletigers