Carl was a man who did his work and made some pretty good grades in high school. He then went off to college and earned his bachelor’s degree, and then got his dream job working as an electrical engineer for Tesla, making lots of money.
He bought a nice big house and a really nice car — a Tesla, of course. He worked hard and made his dreams happen.
“His life seemed amazing, yet there was one thing that bothered Carl. On the inside, he wasn’t happy. He was lonely,” Toshi Sasaki said during his valedictorian address on Saturday as part of the Sandy Creek Christian Academy graduation service.
Sasaki’s advice to his eight classmates, future graduates of the school and others was simple.
“Don’t be a Carl,” he said. “Value your relationships. All of them. You might be shocked to learn that being forced to work with someone on an Algebra 2 worksheet is something that Carl would gladly trade you for.
“To be in an environment where you can talk to and grow with those around you is amazing, and it’s truly one of the best things in life. Carl didn’t take advantage of any of those opportunities, but luckily you still can. At school or college or the grocery or work or church, there are so many opportunities for relationships to begin and grow. Don’t pass them up because you are too busy.”
Sasaki urged everyone to not get so caught up in achieving their goals that they don’t cherish their relationships.
“Make time to feed the relationships you have started,” he said. “Every relationship is a part of the journey to where we are going. They actually help define where we are heading.”
Sasaki also thanked his classmates for all the moments they shared with him.
“I will treasure them as we all head off in different directions,” he said. “You have made me a better person. Each class time, conversations, preparing for events, lunch time, the jokes we shared, lessons we learned, prayers with each other, and helping carry each other’s burdens have all been a foundation to my next step.”
That next step is attending Western Governors University to learn software development this summer and concentrating on his lawn care business, Green Geeks Lawn Care.
“I’m a co-owner,” he said. The other owner is Zac Miller.
Like Sasaki, classmate Joshua Hernandez’ next step is furthering his education. He plans to attend Lincoln Tech Institute to study electrical systems and technology.
While he was glad to be able to graduate despite the pandemic, Hernandez said he was going to miss all his teachers and peers.
He said he liked the one-on-one with teachers Sandy Creek offers because of its size and at least one more thing.
“The good spirit, Godly environment,” Hernandez said.
Another classmate, Quinn Hall said she plans to study English at Indiana University-Purdue University at Columbus with an eye toward writing stories to become an author.
Classmate Michael Sparks also plans to attend a community college for a couple of years and then go to a four-year university or college to obtain a degree in electrical engineering.
He said he was glad graduation had finally arrived, but would miss all his classmates and teachers.
Commencement, which was held at The Tabernacle in downtown Seymour, started with a flag and Bible processional followed by a processional of the nine soon to be graduates.
Bryce Blevins led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the pledge to the Christian flag led Noell Roll. Juleimy Alvardo then led the pledge to the Bible. Jacob Hernandez welcomed everyone and then led prayer.
Senior Ethan Mills also sang a solo as part of the choir’s performance of the “Yes I Will.”
The keynote address was given by the Rev. Andrew King, pastor of Highland Village of Bloomington.
He said commencement means to begin, but graduation was about the end of high school.
“But your finishing to begin,” King said.
He said God has put his fingerprints on the lives of the graduates.
“He’s shaping you. He’s imprinting you with him,” King said. “Allow your life to reflect the imprint of the Lord God.”
After King spoke, Kenny Noble, the school’s head academic advisor, distributed the diplomas with the help of the Rev. Aaron Arrowood, the school’s principal, the Rev. Larry Arrowood and King. Misty Arrowood, the school administrator, spoke briefly about each graduate before they received their diplomas.
The service ended with prayer by Pastor Aaron Arrowood and the tassel ceremony.