Winter commencement for the Harrison and McCutcheon Classes of 2017 took place January 14 at Loeb Playhouse.
Families and friends of the graduates filled the seats, eager to see their hard-working seniors walk across the stage with their diplomas.
The presenters at the program knew that everyone was eager and excited, so no time was wasted.
In fact, commencement only lasted about 20 minutes.
First, the 16 Harrison graduates and 29 McCutcheon graduates walked down the two aisles and onto the stage, with the audience cheering on.
After the National Anthem was played by the McCutcheon Band, Harrison principal Cory Marshall greeted the audience and introduced the Tippecanoe School Corporation Board of Trustees.
John Beeker, a 2008 McCutcheon graduate and current employee, presented a speech, encouraging the graduates to remember their hometown and high schools as they move forward into the future.
Then came the moment every high school student has been waiting for: the presentation of diplomas.
Harrison went first, starting with Camila Bayona, a student from Colombia and Canada.
Bayona moved to West Lafayette about a year and a half ago.
Her step-father is also a Class of 2017 winter graduate, having attended Purdue University.
Bayona’s friends cheered for her loudly as she walked across the stage, yelling “I love you!” and “Go, Camila!”
She graduated with Academic Honors, but states that it was not easy.
“It was kind of hard because I had to take both of my English classes at the same time,” says Bayona.
She never had an easy class schedule, since she had to take all of the classes necessary to graduate.
Bayona will be attending McGill University, which is in Canada.
Since she is originally from Canada, it will be cheaper for her to go to college in Canada than to stay in the United States.
She left for Canada the day after commencement, so many of her close friends attended to see their dear friend before she had to go.
While the friends and family members of other graduates were all smiling and laughing, Bayona’s friends had tears in their eyes.
It was quite an emotional moment.
“She’s my best friend,” said Annabella Falls, a senior, as Bayona walked across the stage.
Winter graduates are still able to attend prom, but Bayona is not sure if she will be able to come back.
“I would have to get a job with good pay to come back here,” said Bayona.
Even if she is unable to attend prom, she still hopes to return during the summer to see her friends.
The varied backgrounds and backstories of all the winter graduates surely make everyone proud, and eager to see what their futures have in store.