After a year Principal David Clark described as “a bit of a roller-coaster ride,” 420 seniors received their diplomas Saturday during the 144th annual commencement at Columbus North High School.

While one high point was a band trip to Hawaii, the lows included an unusual number of students athletes who suffered painful injuries, North teachers said.

That fact was humorously mentioned by North valedictorian Eva Yezerets as she introduced herself to a packed gymnasium Saturday.

“In case you don’t remember, I’m the girl who landed face-first during the homecoming track meet this year,” said Yezerets, generating laughter from the crowd.

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But in terms of high points, Clark noted the Class of 2016 succeeded in their advanced placement tests more than any other class in the past.

“Your body of work reminds us the future is in good hands,” Clark said.

Salutatorian Zoe Arbuckle assured her classmates they have learned much more than they probably realized.

“Take your knowledge and create something worthwhile — even if it’s only worthwhile to you,” Arbuckle said.

Yezerets challenged her fellow graduating seniors to make learning a lifelong habit. “We must always have the courage to ask questions, never to assume, and never be afraid to change the rules when we can make things better,” Yezerets said.

In his final address to a graduating class at North, retiring Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Superintendent John Quick described keys to success as simply showing up, being prepared with backup plans, forming relationships and finding passions.

Since the Class of 2016 was the first to be issued personal computers and enjoy the benefits of a multi-million dollar upgrade throughout their high school years, senior class president Marlena Reisinger acknowledged she hears plenty of adults saying that her class had it too easy.

With humor, Reisinger said Neanderthals probably said the same thing about the first generation of cavemen who cooked with fire — and acknowledged her own class will likely “be envious of the students who will get to experience Star Wars XV in 10-D” in the future.

On a more serious note, Reisinger encouraged her classmates to “create, innovate and work in ways to make us proud of the world we pass on to the next generation.”

Columbus North Class of 2016

Graduates: 420 (at commencement)

Valedictorian:  Eva Yezerets

Salutatorian:  Zoe Arbuckle

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.