They might not look related, but Cedar Lake Christian Academy’s five graduating seniors certainly feel like they are family. There’s an easy camaraderie among them — two girls, three boys — that resembles the playful ribbing and real affection of siblings.
Ask them about funny stories from their years together, and their eyes light up. “Ooh, tell her about the fire alarm!” “Oh, no, that might be too embarrassing.”
The five — Danny Castro, Josh Damers, Megan Donnett, Diana Oliver and Bracken Ward — have plenty of shareable stories, however. The most popular? It’s from 10th grade. “I blew a microwave up in science lab,” Damers said. “It was some Peeps.” The sugar-encrusted marshmallow candies were stuffed into a plastic water bottle, and someone put the cap on the bottle. Oops. It was a recipe for disaster.
“Peeps, all over the walls,” Ward said. “Blue Peeps.”
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Oliver and Donnett, valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, have been in the same class since kindergarten. Castro arrived in the 10th grade but immediately felt like he fit in.
“I felt like that the first day,” he said. “It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, who’s that guy?’”
It isn’t only the students who feel like family. During his commencement address Thursday night, teacher Dan Takacs had to take a few moments to gather his composure.
“Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your life,” he told them.
Cedar Lake Christian Academy
Valedictorian: Diana Oliver, daughter of David and Mary Helen Oliver
Salutatorian: Megan Donnett, daughter of James and Kathy Donnett
Class size: 5
Principal: Lisa Williams
Quote: ‘They say you’re the average of your five closest friends. So with these four and Jesus, I’m doing all right.’ — Valedictorian Diana Oliver