2022 ISBVI Graduation
June 13, 2022
Graduating from high school is never easy, but for many of the 16 seniors who graduated from the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI) on May 27th, ISBVI has played an important role in their lives for nearly 18 years. As ISBVI Valedictorian, Zach Allen, stated, "One of the most important lessons that we have learned here at ISBVI is to be kind. 'Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.' We have learned through our years here at ISBVI that it costs nothing to be kind, and that no matter what life throws at us, kindness always prevails."
ISBVI is a second home to so many students. It is a community that embraces difference and encourages students to discover who they are and who they can be. The last two years of the pandemic have been especially challenging, but as Zach Allen reminded his peers and their families, “change is their normal.” This class of 2022 was born in the aftermath of 9/11, they started school shortly after the economy collapsed in 2008, and their vision loss has put them in a “state of constant change.” The pandemic only made this class recognize “collateral beauty” in ways never before. Zach continued to define this phrase as the “good things in life that happen because of the bad stuff.”
It is this outlook and perspective that continues to awaken the generosity in the IBCF community. “I have watched students at ISBVI remind supporters that even in the wake of hard times, there is a constant determination to rise above it all and find beauty and purpose here,” says IBCF Executive Director Laura Alvarado. While graduation feels like the end of an educational journey, it is really the beginning of a new adventure.
The IBCF Board and staff believe that the students should be celebrated for finishing this wonderful academic achievement and what better way to celebrate students than gifting each graduating senior with items that reflect their passions and/or equip them for their next chapter.
In 2020, IBCF started sponsoring senior baskets made up of items that each student loves. In the last two years, the senior baskets have grown because of the generosity of volunteers who act as “senior sponsors,” receiving a wish-list and shopping for special items for each senior. Teachers and staff at ISBVI are also invited to join in on the fun and add whatever items they like to the baskets as well. All the items are taken over to IBCF community partner, A Taste of Indiana, located at 62nd and Binford. Items are artfully arranged and put together for each student, IBCF adds the finishing touches with chocolates and goodies from A Taste of Indiana before everything is wrapped up in cellophane and tied up with a bow.
The senior baskets were provided to each graduating senior at the ISBVI Senior Banquet the evening before graduation. The Senior Banquet is an opportunity for all the families of graduating students to gather, break bread together, and marvel in stories about each senior that highlights their unique personalities and character. The following photos feature each student receiving his or her senior basket on Thursday, May 26th.
Thank you to A Taste of Indiana and all the senior sponsors who made this year’s senior baskets so special: Eye Surgeons of Indiana (Indy Clinic), Surgical Care Center (Indy Surgery Center), Eye Surgeons of Indiana and Advanced Surgery Center (Lafayette clinic and surgery center), the Leadership Team and Doctors at Eye Surgeons of Indiana, Regions Bank- Jenny Lurkins and Danielle Turner, Becca Hopson, Kristina Davis, Michael Parent, Amanda Black, Stephanie Jackson-Colbert, Kim Borges, Kathy Nimmer, Walter and Bridgette Burtner, Chris and Kelly Munoz, David Thomas, Kelly Alexiou, Toula Oberlies, Selina Ho, Judy Reynolds, Leslie Walsh, Janelle Pivec, and participating ISBVI teachers and staff.