Kelsey’s Graduation


Kelsey with her proud parents, Jim and Kelly.

Last night (Friday) we attended the graduation ceremony at Whitko High School in South Whitley, Ind. Kelsey Mize, Pam’s niece (daughter of her brother) was graduating. And she was valedictorian! She had to give a speech! So of COURSE we went.

Her speech was delivered with confidence (or fake confidence) and full of wit. She did great. Toward the end, she rattled off a barrage of cliches, like, “If at first you don’t succeed, try again,” probably 15 of them all strung together. Ratatatat. That was my favorite part.

The graduates were all dressed in red or blue gowns, depending on whether they were Republicans or Democrats. Curiously, all of the girls were Republicans, and all of the guys were Democrats. Maybe I was missing some hidden symbolism in those colors.

I’d like to say South Whitley is heartland America. It felt like my stereotypes. But the high school gym was lilly white. I saw no blacks among the graduates, though I’m told there was one. One. I mentioned that to Pam’s oldest nephew, Spencer. “It’ll hit them when they leave. If they leave,” he said.

Can you be heartland America when you’re entirely Caucasian? I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t seem representative of today’s America. A bigger question in Indiana is: can a school like that actually win basketball games?

Make no mistake: this was a quality group of graduates. They gave a lot of statistics about academic accomplishments and college plans and such. Real high academic achievements. Lots of tassels and medallions and such. A good share no doubt headed to college. Four entering the military.

As for Kelsey: full ride to Indiana University. She’s a great girl from a great family.

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