By Amanda Foust
With the school year coming to an end, Carmel High School is set to honor this year’s Distinguished Graduate, Patrick Tan, at this year’s graduation ceremony.
The Distinguished Graduate is an honor equivalent to valedictorian.
“Overall, I think the purpose of Carmel choosing this system over the traditional, valedictorian system is that they want to recognize students who excel in many areas, not just academics alone. They want to emphasize balance,” Tan said.
The designation is awarded based on a point system derived from a CHS program of studies. This system focuses on three different areas: academics, extra curricular activities and leadership. During students’ senior year, all those who qualify fill out a point system chart.
Approximately 100 students are honored based on the chart. Three percent will be considered “Distinguished” and seven percent will be “Commended” at graduation.
Overall, the person with the most points is considered Most Distinguished. This person would have highly excelled in academics, been involved in sports, clubs and leadership positions.
Any student who aims for this goal would likely work the entire four years of high school to achieve the highest honors.
But Tan would advise other students not to focus on the award and instead enjoy the journey.
“When I was going through high school I never really thought about being Distinguished Grad. I just did what I wanted to do and what I was interested in,” he said. “I came from a small middle school, so when I went to high school I was just involved in a ton of things. I wouldn’t recommend pursuing distinguished grad just because. Do it more for the experiences you can take with you.”
Tan will also be giving a speech at graduation before the other 1,151 of his peers and their families.
“I’ve decided to make it about the realities of the world and the importance of never giving up hope,” he said.
He plans on attending Harvard in the fall but is undecided about his future studies. He said he is interested in Science and Business, but when asked what he will study, he likes to respond, “I will be studying interpretive dancing.”
His humor is another indicator of how he is the well-rounded, balanced Distinguished Graduate of 2014.
Carmel High School’s graduation ceremony will be conducted May 31 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.