ISS grads cherish memories made at a ‘special place’

INDIAN SPRINGS – The recognition of Indian Springs School as a special place and desire to preserve memories made there and one day return were common themes at the school’s 63rd graduation exercises held on Friday, May 26.

“The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli was performed by Haeun Honney Kim on violin and Hyesook Jung on piano as graduates and guests took their seats.

Sharon Howell, head of school, welcomed those in attendance.

“I want to tell you what an honor it has been to arrive here for your senior year and spend it with you,” Howell told the graduates and added that she hopes they maintain ownership of the school. “You will always have the people you have known and loved here. Springs will abide here and will always be your home.”

Allen Xu told in his opening remarks of first coming to the United States from China, and his flight from Chicago was cancelled. He contacted an ISS administrator, who helped make arrangements for him.

Xu said it was an example of the willingness to help shared by the Springs community.

“I have spent my four most important years here,” Xu said.

“Homeward Bound” was performed by the school’s Concert Choir, directed by Andrew Dibble.

Adam Aldaher and Dewey Wilbanks, who served as mayors of the school during their senior year, also gave addresses.

Aldaher said his father taught him to play chess when he was 6 years old, and he has approached decisions using strategy learned in chess, including the importance of “openings.”

“Indian Springs has given us the best possible opening to set us up for the game of life,” Aldaher said.

Wilbanks recalled driving his vehicle into the school sign off Alabama 119 but said he figuratively “hit the sign” as an immature eighth grader.

“Everybody here has ‘hit the sign,’ and Indian Springs made clear that we matter,” Wilbanks said. “That’s what makes this place so special.”

Recipients of the Leadership Award and the Spiritual Awareness Award were announced before diplomas were given to 59 graduates.

Emma Turner said in her closing remarks that the Class of 2017 has not taken a passive role.

“Springs is a place where failure is not looked at as a negative but rather a place from which to grow,” Turner said. “We are all changed forever from knowing each other and being here at this time in our lives.”

The Concert Choir and graduates sang the alma mater to conclude the ceremony, after which guests were invited to enjoy lunch with the Class of 2017.