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Class of 2019 has many accomplishments

The Class of 2019 celebrated its commencement and entry into the Our Lady of Providence Alumni Association on Sunday. With 96 graduates, the class has put up some impressive statistics:97 percent will go on to pursue additional education/training, 3 percent are entering the workforce, 70 received an Indiana Honors Diploma, and four received an Indiana Technical Honors Diploma. For the first time, two students have each earned the Indiana Honors and the Technical Honors diplomas. Additionally, our graduates received $10.7 million in direct college scholarship offers and donated nearly 7,500 service hours to the community during their four years at Providence. Thirty percent of the graduates are children of alumni, and 10 percent are from two-generation alumni families.

The class was presented with their awards last week, and the full list can be found here.

Beyond the statistics, these graduates have been accepted into colleges all over the state of Indiana as well as in Kentucky and Ohio. Three students will attend the all-male Wabash College, two students will be involved in college ROTC programs, one student will be attending a college aviation program, and one has been accepted into an apprenticeship program. Also of note, four graduates earned their Boy Scout Eagle Scout rank during high school. 

Top two students to be roommates in college
The Class of 2019 valedictorian, Adriel Nacpil, and salutatorian, Ross Reyes, share a lot of the same interests. Both like math and science and were on the Quick Recall team together. The two friends plan to attend Purdue University West Lafayette and major in computer engineering – and room together. They also split the David C. Smith ’82 Memorial Scholarship Award, granting each $3,000 to pursue an engineering degree at Purdue.  

Even though Adriel earned the No. 1 spot, the two said there never was any competition between them for the top two ranks. Adriel held the No. 1 rank during his time at Providence. His motivation was partly to earn the same rank as his brother, Justin ’14, who was valedictorian of that class. Additionally, he wanted to make his parents proud, and now that he’s given his speech and received the award, he’s proud of his accomplishment.

“Finally, all the work has paid off,” Adriel said. “I also see it as giving back to my parents for all they’ve done for me. The least I can do is work hard and try my best.”

Adriel was named a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student for his score on the PSAT as a junior. He also was named an AP Scholar with Distinction for his success on multiple AP tests last May. Additionally, he earned fifth place on the Math Team among seniors in the district.

Ross, who was president of Spanish Club in theatre, including Providence Singers, learned he had moved up to the No. 2 rank last year and worked to maintain that spot. Achieving salutatorian is validation of his efforts, he said.

“It makes you feel you’ve accomplished something,” Ross said. “Your hard work didn’t go unnoticed.”

The two are looking forward to Purdue. Adriel turned down the University of Notre Dame to attend Purdue because its engineering program is more renowned, he said. Ross said he also chose Purdue for its reputation.

“I see myself as a Boilermaker,” Ross said.

Three to attend Wabash College
In the past decade, one alumnus has attended Wabash College, and this year, three have chosen the all-male school in Crawfordsville, Ind., northwest of Indianapolis. Austin Hughes and Tanner Carver will be playing college sports for the NCAA Division III schools, Austin for men’s soccer and Tanner for men’s diving. Like Brandon Schafer, they also chose the school for its academics, camaraderie, and alumni network.

Austin said he heard about Wabash while attending a soccer camp at Xavier University, and a Wabash assistant coach was his group leader. The coach invited Austin to tour Wabash “because he thought we’d be great fits for each other,” Austin said. He was right.

“After visiting campus and meeting the people there, it reminded me heavily of Providence,” Austin said. “The school goes above and beyond to not only be a great and unique college experience but also a ‘life prep’ school as well. Wabash has the second highest rated alumni network in the country, and they produce highly successful, influential graduates on a regular basis who go all over the world after school. Once I got the full grasp of these ideas and the entire ‘Wabash experience,’ I knew that was a place I wanted to be a part of.

Austin plans to major in a new program known as philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) studying business classes in the Center for Innovation and Business Entrepreneurship (CIBE) program. He said he also is looking forward to studying abroad at some point, made possible thanks to a generous alumnus who has made a donation that pays for U.S.-based immersion trips and overseas travel abroad experiences.

Austin also said he looks forward to being part of the men’s soccer team, which will allow him to reconnect with friends he has made playing on various teams over the years. He also wants to help the team achieve its goals of winning its conference and qualifying for the NCAA tournament, two benchmarks it has been close to reaching in recent years.

Brandon heard about Wabash after talking to Austin’s dad, Chris Hughes ’89, who suggested he consider the small, private college. The more Brandon looked into Wabash, the more impressed he was, especially after hearing about Austin’s visit. After going on his own college visit, Brandon made the decision to go too.

Brandon plans to major in chemistry as a pre-med track. He said he is looking forward to the freedom he will experience in college as well as the chance to make new lifelong friends. He said what he finds most appealing about Wabash is “the very impressive alumni network, the brotherhood, and the ability to take free immersion trips across the world.”

Tanner said he first considered Wabash as his college destination after seeing its alumni network ranking in a publication featuring Indiana colleges. He also was impressed by the college’s merit scholarship. Knowing two others from his class also were enrolling didn’t impact his decision.

“I chose the school because I view college as an investment for the future, and this stood out to me as the best investment,” Tanner said. “I would attend Wabash regardless of who else is attending.”

Tanner plans to major in economics with a minor in philosophy and is looking forward to the new experiences during college and being on the diving team.

“The most appealing thing about the dive program is that it will be an easy way for me to get to know people,” Tanner said.

Four earn Eagle Scout rank
Four graduates achieved the rank of Eagle Scout from the Boys Scouts while at Providence. Matthew Reger, a member of Troop 36 at Holy Family, earned his in 2017, Joe Gryboski, also a member of the Holy Family troop, earned his last summer, and Matthew Nokes and Sam LaMaster, members of Troop 4010 at St. Anthony, earned theirs this past spring.

Joe’s project was to build two mobile gaming carts for Norton Children’s Hospital. The carts were equipped with a flatscreen, an Xbox, a Wii, and security features to allow children to play video games during hospital stays. His project totaled 180 hours of volunteer work in order to plan, build, and install the carts, which didn’t include donated time from the crew he organized to help with the project.

Joe said he felt proud to complete the project because “a lot of work had been put into the carts, so it felt good to see all of that come together into one finished project, but it also felt good knowing that I was able to help the hospital. Knowing that those two carts would be used to help children be happy while they are recovering in a hospital means the world to me.”

Like the other four Eagle Scout recipients, Joe learned a lot through the process.

“I learned that working with a lot of other people can be challenging due to scheduling and communication conflicts,” Joe said. “I also learned that there are a lot of very generous people in this area that are happy to help a good cause.”

Joe’s Eagle Scout project help him earn the PHS Service Award for accumulating the most service hours with a total of 263.5 hours of service. His Scout project made up most of the hours, and he also volunteered for local nonprofit Miles 4 Merry Miracles.

Joe said he got much more out of helping others than he anticipated.

“Starting out, I knew that I had a service requirement to fulfill in order to graduate, but once I got started, I ended up enjoying the opportunities to help others,” Joe said. “My motivation was my hope to see my actions impact those that needed it the most. Whether it was donating my time at a soup kitchen or helping community organizations around the holidays, I wanted to help others.”

He most enjoyed helping Miles 4 Merry Miracles (M4MM) with its Christmas Party and Angel Tree Shopping Day. The annual event goes beyond simply buying gifts for those in need as identified through the Salvation Army Angel Tree. The M4MM members also host a Christmas Party for the “Angels” and their families, which includes dinner, a visit from Santa Claus, and the gift distribution.

“I love this activity because of how excited the kids get when they see Santa,” Joe said.

Senior earns apprenticeship
Dylan Seals
will be starting an apprenticeship with UA Local 502 (United Association and Plumbers, Pipefitters & Service Technicians) as a welder. He has taken welding at Prosser for the last two years and earned the Indiana Technical Honors Diploma. He was one of 62 applicants and the only student from his Prosser class accepted into the program, which will include the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree from Ivy Tech Community College tuition free while also receiving on-the-job training over the next five years. Once he completes the five-year program, he will achieve the level of journeyman and be able to start a professional career as a welder.

Dylan said he is looking forward to starting the program. He is waiting to receive word of his first job training and will start classes in August, taking classes two evenings a week. He decided to take the welding class initially because he was interested in learning a trade rather than going to college. Welding appealed to him because his grandfather had been a welder at Jeffboat. He is happy to be able to start learning the trade professionally right away.

“I like being able to do hands-on stuff and build stuff,” he said.

Dylan said he’s relieved to be accepted on his first application, especially since he has heard many people have to apply several times and spend some time in pre-apprentice metal trades work before being accepted. He said knowing people in the union may be helped him some, but his skills also had to be up to par. He also is grateful to be able to receive his schooling for only the cost of books. He will pay monthly union dues of less than $50.

Two to join college ROTC programs
Two graduates will be entering ROTC programs in college in preparation for future military careers. Kaden Williams will participate in the U.S. Army ROTC at Butler University, and Tyler Upton will join the U.S. Air Force ROTC at Purdue University. Kaden decided to join the military after hearing about the opportunity from a family friend who is a recruiter. Also, his grandfathers served in the military. He chose to start out by taking part in the ROTC program at Butler because he liked the campus and received an ROTC scholarship.

Kaden said he is looking forward to the physical fitness and camaraderie aspects of being in ROTC, which he would otherwise miss since he will no longer be playing football or baseball. ROTC involves training four days a week plus taking a military science class each semester and taking part in a lab that involves military exercises off campus.

“I like it because I’ll still be part of a team and be able to stay active,” Kaden said. “And it’s working for something that’s bigger than yourself.”

Tyler said he decided to enter the AFROTC program in preparation for his future career as a commercial pilot. He has been interested in a career in flying since he signed up for an aerospace project in 4-H several years ago. As part of that project, he interviewed a UPS pilot, who advised him that the Air Force provides one of the quickest routes to becoming a commercial pilot.

The AFROTC program has similar physical training and military science course and lab requirements to what Kaden will take for the Army program. After earning his degree in aviation management or professional flight (which will cost an additional $25,000 annually), Tyler plans to enlist in the Air Force after his sophomore year, which will include a 10-year commitment – and then move on to commercial flight.

Tyler said he was inspired to go the military route to becoming a pilot in part because he has two uncles who were military pilots. He first fell in love with flying as a child when a great uncle would fly him in his plane.

“That’s where I got the flying bug,” Tyler said.

He has already started preparing for his college major through the Prosser Vocational School aviation program. He just completed the first-year program, which involves classroom work to prepare him for the written, oral, and practical exams to getting his pilot’s license. He passed the written exam and this summer will take flight lessons in order to get the required number of flight hours before starting classes at Purdue.

Like Kaden, Tyler anticipates the AFROTC will be a good substitute for his sports participation, which included cross country, track, and swim. He also said those sports have prepared him well to take the fitness test for pilots at Purdue. Tyler hopes he will do well enough to eventually qualify for an AFROTC scholarship.

Two earn Honors, Technical Honors diplomas
Tyler has another distinctive achievement that sets him apart from his classmates. He is one of two graduates who were the first graduates in recent years to earn both the Indiana Honors Diploma and the Indiana Technical Honors Diploma. The other is Ronny Grimes. Both attended Prosser this year only, which enabled them to earn both diplomas. Ronny studied fire and safety. He plans to attend Ivy Tech Community College and major in business administration.

One on to Vincennes aviation program
The Class of 2019 has another pilot, Frank Caylor. Frank took two years of aviation, which included the first year of classwork at Prosser and the second year of flight classes after school. He has 10 flight hours and needs a total of 250 to get his pilot’s license. He plans to continue taking flying lessons over the summer in preparation for entering the aviation program through Vincennes University.

Although his bachelor’s degree will be from Vincennes, Frank will not stay on campus. He will live in Indianapolis, where the flight school is. Once he earns his degree, he said, he will have 1,000 flight hours and a guaranteed job as a pilot as a regional airport that has a partnership with Vincennes.

The Vincennes program is expensive, and will require about $100,000 in loans over four years, but Frank said he is confident that his commercial pilot’s salary will enable him to repay the debt quickly. He plans to work his way up from flying at regional airports to become a UPS pilot. He said he chose the college route over the Air Force because he didn’t want to commit 10 years to the military.

He first became interested in flying after hearing about the aviation program at Prosser and was impressed by the average pilot’s salary. Now that he’s been in the air, he’s confident in his choice.

“With flying, it’s (the view) so pretty, and it’s such a good experience,” Frank said. “I like the challenge of being a pilot. I have to study a lot.”

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