It started with a vision, 15 families, and several part-time teachers in 1995, and now Covenant Christian High School has ballooned to 340 students — several of whom received diplomas this past Saturday.
“This (class) is a very eclectic group of kids who have figured out a way to coexist here and have a lot of fun,” said Nanci Slagle of CCHS. “We have had just a great mix of music, art, drama, science, and math, but they have enjoyed each other a lot.”
And it has been an eventful senior year for the class of 2013. CCHS was able to make a first-ever trip to the soccer state finals.
“We took hundreds of people down to watch the game,” Slagle said. “That was probably the first big highlight.”
Then, they rallied around the Indianapolis Colts’ ‘ChuckStrong’ campaign, earning the school national attention when Sports Illustrated included it in an issue after players and principal Andy Goodwin shaved their heads in support of leukemia research as the Colts coach fought the illness.
“We had a student at the school who was going through cancer treatments, and Coach Pagano was going through them, so a bunch of our boys went to Great Clips in Speedway and got their heads shaved,” Slagle said. “The Colts sent people out to the school to interview them, Jim Irsay tweeted about them, and it was pretty fun.”
It’s that unity with one another, she said, that has made this class so special.
“It guess it would seem like all classes are like that everywhere, but they’re not,” she said. “I think because we’re smaller, our kids are afforded more opportunity to try out lots of different things and do lots of different classes.
“A kid named Connor Reagan comes to mind, a senior who has been a part of the underwater robotics team, has run the sound and lights for a play, and he was also a character in the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ does math competitions, and is on the rocket team.”
She said that’s a thing to be cherished with this class and at the school — the ability to not necessarily be forced to choose one avenue of interest at the expense of another.
“We have kids that are seniors that are able to walk onto the volleyball or tennis team because they want to add that to their experience,” she said. “I just think when you’re smaller, you’re able to do that.”
Another student that stood out was valedictorian and future University of Pennsylvania student Megan Gerstbauer.
“Megan is just plain good at everything,” Slagle said. “She is such a deep thinker. She’s the kid that comes in with a huge pile of papers, like her whole life is in that stack, and you ask her for something, she pulls it right out.
“She’s a great critical thinker and it’ll be interesting to see where she ends up in 10 to 20 years. She’s very involved with sports and school spirit, not stereotypical at all. That’s the epitome of the sort of kid that we’re trying to produce here, one that doesn’t just regurgitate answers on a test, but leaves with critical thinking skills that can apply to different situations the rest of their lives.”
Gerstbauer urged her fellow seniors at the graduation ceremony to “not wake up in 10 years and wonder ‘do I even matter?’ and said she hoped that her classmates will “shine brightly” and make sure they embrace their shortcomings as well as their successes.
She also hoped that her fellow seniors would not take everything at face value, but rather “bring something new to the table,” and to not let the world dictate their view.
And with that, the 2013 class snared their diplomas, and began the rest of their lives, hoping to “shine.”