Photo by student photographer Dorie Gillespie

Bunker Hill, IN - Sarah Bingham began Maconaquah High School’s graduation ceremony by welcoming a crowded gym of peers, family, and friends. The senior class vice president also prayed for blessing over their futures and thanked God for “all of the days of laughter, fun, great discovery and learning.”

MHS graduated 143 seniors in the class of 2019 on Saturday. Speeches from the class valedictorian, salutatorian and class president all focused on themes of pursuing dreams and staying true to one’s self.

Valedictorian Morgan Smith encouraged her classmates to describe who they think they are today. Her classmates laughed and applauded not only her description of herself but the various personas of her graduating class.

“Whoever you are, people are going to see you as they want. Be who you are. Be unapologetically you,” Smith said.

Salutatorian Alyssa Bell tailed Smith’s speech with the simple, but valued words to, “Follow your dreams, never let anyone get in the way of those dreams, and never stop dreaming.”

Class president Porter Hunt wrapped up the speeches with a message of encouragement.

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Chloe Bates accepts a rose after receiving her diploma during Maconaquah High School’s graduation on Saturday. Photo by student photographer Dorie Gillespie

“This is just the beginning of a new chapter. A chapter that will bring a whole new world of challenges,” Hunt said. “I know you can and will find a way to conquer any challenges you might face. I believe in you, and I believe in your ability to do great things.”

MHS Principal Chad Carlson said he and the staff are very proud of the class of 2019 and wish them the best.

“This group of young men and women has done a great job of contributing to the positive culture of the school, and they have demonstrated the qualities we strive for at Maconaquah,” Carlson said. “As with most classes, this group has shown a tremendous amount of growth during the past four years. They enter high school as kids not knowing what to expect and graduate as young adults ready to move on to the next stage of their lives.”

Maconaquah Superintendent Dr. James Callane said the class is leaving MHS with “big shoes to fill.”

“This class has not only shown great academic achievement, but also great extracurricular achievement. They have done a lot for our local community and reminded me personally of the value of community service.”

The ceremony was full of laughter and tears, but nothing showed brighter than the smiles of so many parents beaming with gratitude of what their graduate accomplished.

Jennifer and Rick Miller spoke of their excitement for their daughter Alice.

“We’ve watched her mature and grow as a person throughout her time at Maconaquah,” Jennifer remarked. “It makes us feel good to watch her become a young adult, and we’re excited to watch her move forward with her future.”

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Bailey Hayes grins as she exits Maconaquah High School’s gym as a class of 2019 graduate. Photo by student photographer Dorie Gillespie

Rick couldn’t agree more, and attributed a lot of the success to the great environment at Maconaquah. “It’s been an awesome experience, and you hate for it to end, but we’ve loved every step of the way. It’s such a great school with excellent staff, academics, sports, and coaches. We couldn’t have been happier watching Alice grow up here at Maconaquah.”

Alice mentioned that Maconaquah helped shape her to be who her parents are so proud of today.

“The environment here makes you want to be a better student,” said Alice. “It’s all about Brave pride, excellence, and succeeding. I really think having such a positive environment has motivated me to become who I am today.”