Purdue Polytechnic High Schools students celebrate graduation
Graduation speech encourages compassion and gratitude
INDIANAPOLIS — Gary Bertoline didn’t have the best high school experience.
It was with this sense of irony that Bertoline stood outside Purdue Polytechnic High School Schweitzer Center in Englewood, on the east side of Indianapolis, and delivered the commencement address to 113 students who were to graduate from the PPHS and embark on the next chapters of their lives. . You can watch a video recap and view a Photo gallery of PPHS graduation day online.
BertolinPurdue University’s senior vice president for Purdue Online and Learning Innovation, previously served as Dean of Purdue Polytechnic Institute and developed the concept of a Purdue-sponsored STEM high school it would help give students a voice in their education. He was also present on the opening day of the PPHS in Indianapolis in a temporary location on July 31, 2017.
Bertoline grew up a shy, introverted person who graduated from high school with a B- average. “My parents had to beg me to try to go to college. My high school experience shattered my spirit and my self-confidence,” he said.
But amid these challenges, a catalyst for personal growth happened with the birth of Bertoline’s third child, who has Down syndrome. Bertoline said that moment was when he realized he and his family needed to embrace life to the fullest, learn from all experiences, and be compassionate.
“Graduates, today I ask you to begin your post-graduation life by expressing your gratitude to your family and friends,” Bertoline said. “Life is beautiful, especially today.”
Bertoline’s message of seeking the good in all things and having passion in one’s studies follows the mission of PPHS, which was created to build new K-12 pathways that lead to Purdue, especially for Hoosier students who are underserved by traditional high schools and underrepresented in higher education.
PPHS immerses students and their families in an innovative learning community. PPHS offers free, authentic, STEM-focused experiences that prepare high school students for a successful future. These experiences include internships, industrial projects, dual credit courses, and technical certifications. PPHS also offers its students a unique path to college; graduates who meet Purdue’s admission requirements are guaranteed admission to many of the university’s programs.
look Building a pipeline: the origin story of PPHS to learn how and why Purdue Polytechnic High Schools is revolutionizing education and changing student lives.
Thirty-four of the graduates accepted their offer to attend Purdue in West Lafayette in the fall. A total of 65% of graduates will go on to graduate school and 12% will attend trade schools or military service.
While this was PPHS’s second launch, the graduation ceremony included the first four-year class from PPHS North, located in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis, and the first graduates from PPHS South Bend.
Victor Chukwuocha of the PPHS Schweitzer Center in Englewood was one of three responding students. Chukwuocha will attend Purdue and major in integrated business and engineering.
“Through all our trials and tribulations, we have persevered. We built a community where we used each other’s perspectives to grow in our lives,” Chukwuocha said. “Although we graduate today, this community will continue to help and nurture our growth for the rest of our lives.”
Nate Laneman of PPHS South Bend is another member of the class of 2022 who served as a student speaker. Laneman will be pursuing a mechanical engineering degree from Purdue.
“I’m sure we’ve all been through some tough stuff, and I’m sure we’ll be through more as we get older. But for today, put all that aside and be happy, celebrate, laugh, smile, just have fun,” Laneman said. “Whatever you’re going to do now that you’re an adult, do one of those things to smile.”
More testimonials students about how PPHS has changed their lives and opened the doors to college are on a special PPHS webpage.
The 34 graduates will participate in Purdue’s Early Start program from July 11 to August 11. 12. Another 175 PPHS sophomores, juniors and seniors will participate in Summer Start (July 11-August 12) and Summer College for High School Students (July 10-August 5).
About Purdue University
Purdue University is a leading public research institution that develops practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the past four years as one of the 10 most innovative universities in the United States by US News & World Report, Purdue delivers groundbreaking research and groundbreaking discoveries. Committed to hands-on, online, real-world learning, Purdue provides transformative education for all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, allowing more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap to https://stories.purdue.edu.
Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell), [email protected], @mo_oates