ELKHART — The Elkhart Central Class of 2019 commencement speaker paid homage to parents, teachers, coaches and administrators for giving the graduates the skills and knowledge they need for life after high school.  

“All of the teachers here have impacted us in one way or the other,” Amy Wyse told more than 400 students gathered Sunday night at North Side Gymnasium. “Think of it, and remember them as you go forward in the world.”

Paraphrasing from “Invictus,” a poem by William Ernest Henley, Wyse urged her colleagues not to be guided by circumstances but to take responsibility for their lives. 

“Let us be the masters of our fates and the captains of our souls,” she said. 

Parents, friends and educators filled the gymnasium at North Side Middle School, where ceremonies were relocated after rain threatened the event at Rice Field. 

Principal Frank Serge presented the Class of 2019 to Superintendent Steve Thalheimer, who celebrated the achievement and accepted the class. It was Thalheimer’s second commencement after attending the ceremony for Elkhart Memorial earlier in the day. 

“This accomplishment requires a partnership,” the superintendent said, “a community of support.”

Before diplomas were conferred by members of the board of school trustees, Serge recognized a number of individuals and groups, including the nine foreign exchange students and the Top 10 graduates based on weighted and unweighted grade-point averages. He said the students had to achieve a 3.98 GPA to make it into the Top 10.

“This year has been really tough,” Serge said. “Six tied for No. 1.”

Serge recognized the hard work done by students and called commencement a bittersweet moment as the graduates embark on a new chapter in their lives. He encouraged them to aim high but also remember the experiences of the past four years. 

“This is about dreams,” Serge said. “This is your first step in that journey to make your dreams come true.”

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