As you enter Andover High School, you may see eight banners that have the words respect, compassion, honesty, acceptance, excellence, integrity, courage and responsibility. These banners have hung in the school since it opened 10 years ago.
“These are attributes and values of someone with character,” Principal Rhonda Dean said. “These are attributes and values of you.”
The Andover High School class of 2012 has more than positive character traits, she said. Students have received over $100,000 in academic scholarships, not including individual financial packages from colleges and universities. This class has some of the top ACT, SAT and AP scores in the nation. This class helped Andover High School earn a silver award in 2012 from U.S. News & World Report.
Samuel Schedler was the senior class speaker for this graduation ceremony and Dean said he plans to attend Bethel University to major in biology – or perhaps he could be on “Saturday Night Live.”
Schedler said it seems like only yesterday that he was getting his picture taken in kindergarten or learning to tie his shoes in fourth grade. He was a late bloomer, he said.
“It seems weird to me that we’re finally going to have a different routine next fall, no matter what we choose to do,” Schedler said. “And believe me, the Andover class of 2012 can do just about anything it sets it mind to. After all, we are in the top 6 percent of high schools in the nation.”
Schedler personally thanked the volleyball team for making it to state every year so he had that event to look forward to all four years he was in high school. He also spoke of the accomplishments of the cross country, Nordic skiing, lacrosse and track teams.
The music programs “have repeatedly kicked butt at district performances leaving audiences and judges alike stunned,” he said.
Last year’s concert choir was one of the top five in the state. Walking by the art hallway display cases was always fun and he has a lot of respect for the hard work and talent these students have, according to Schedler. The competitive one-act play program earned second place at sections this year.
What has meant the most to Schedler is character growth. During freshman year, many students were more concerned about what clothes other kids wore and labeled some people as “nerds,” he said.
Schedler said the class learned over time that this was not the way to live and that you miss out on so much by passing petty judgment too quickly.
“If I do start crying during this speech, this would be the time,” he said. “Simply because I’m so thankful for the friends I have made and the people I have met.
“I see us all as one big family. A big weird family that might have its quirks, but that’s OK. Some of us are close friends and some of us are acquaintances, but what’s important is that we respect each other on a mutual level and I love that.”
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org