By Amy Flis
When senior Kyle Straub was called down to talk to Principal John Williams, he said he had no idea why he was there.
“Honestly, I thought I was in trouble,” Straub said. “So when Principal Williams and (Assistant Principal Amy) Skeens-Benton told me, I was shocked.“
The news the administrators had for Straub was that he is this year’s Distinguished Graduate.
Williams said he enjoyed giving Straub the good news. “I think he’s an outstanding young man, heavily involved in our performing arts department, and like all our Distinguished Grads have to be, he’s an outstanding student,” Williams said.
Straub’s list of activities includes being an Ambassador for three years, playing on the tennis team, being a GKOM and performing in the spring musical every year. Straub said his advantage was that he has been involved in a wide range of activities including volunteer clubs, performing arts and sports.
As the Distinguished Graduate, Straub will be one of three students to deliver a speech at the graduation ceremony. In addition to Straub, the class president will speak, and the third speaker will be determined through an audition occurring closer to the date of graduation.
Skeens-Benton, the administrator in charge of the Distinguished Graduate program, said letters will be sent to the other students who will be honored as distinguished and commended graduates. She said students will hopefully receive the letters during Spring Break.
“I think it’s a really great program that recognizes a lot of students,” Skeens-Benton said. Skeens-Benton said she thought the program represented the “true spirit” of this school, which she described as “academically challenging with a wealth of opportunities.”
There will be 100 distinguished graduates as well as 50 commended graduates recognized at the graduation ceremony.
Williams said the feedback the administration has received concerning the program, which began last year, has been very positive. “We had over 300 applicants this year, and I think that indicates the prestige of this recognition and is a strong indication of the involvement of the Senior Class,” Williams said.
Although Straub said he is nervous about his speech, he said he’s excited to be the Distinguished Graduate.
“(To be named the Distinguished Graduate) means a lot to me,” Straub said. “It’s a huge honor. I’m proud that my work has paid off, and I hope to represent Carmel High School well in the future.”