CHURUBUSCO — It was an evening of new beginnings for 90 Churubusco High School students Friday.

The commencement program for the Class of 2018 took place in front of a large crowd in the high school’s gymnasium, as the young adults made the transition from “student” to “alumni.”

“What happens next is up to you,” said Smith-Green Superintendent Dan Hile. “Your life ahead of you is full of exciting opportunities and possibilities.”

More than half of the students in the Class of 2018 were honor students, 51 students, while 26 were members of National Honor Society and 32 received Academic Honors diplomas.

Seventy-six students plan to go on to college, with the most headed for Purdue Fort Wayne, 22.

In total, Churubusco students received more than $1.2 million in scholarships. While many are focused on where they’re headed in their careers after high school, Hile encouraged the students to put their focus on something more important.

“I encourage you to take time to consider who you want to be,” Hile said. “I don’t mean it in a cheesy way, like when people ask you what you want to be when you grow up. It’s helpful to have a job or career in mind, but from my personal experience, I can tell you your career goals will likely change as you grow older.

“Instead, I encourage you to consider what type of person you want to be. Think about how you want people to feel after they talk to you. Think about how you want people to describe you when you’re not around. Consider what in your life is most important and what is worth any sacrifice.”

Principal Jim Folland recognized members of the Class of 2018 for various accomplishments, including academic, athletic, artistic and more.

Valedictorian Cecilia Gierscher and Salutatorian McKenzie Hart took the stage to address their classmates, and New Era members sang, “In the Beginning.”

Brein Gross sang the National Anthem at the start of the ceremony, and Hailey Przemielewski led the class in both the Pledge of Allegiance and the turning of the tassels. Przemielewski is the class president, and Ashley Uecker is vice president. Hart is the student council president.

The Class of 2018’s colors were navy and silver, flower was the navy rose and motto was, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind,” by Dr. Seuss.