Seth Patterson, 18, of Brownstown, is one of 38 seniors in Trinity Lutheran High School’s Class of 2015.
He and his classmates will receive their diplomas, turn their tassels and say goodbye to their high school years during Trinity’s commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday in the school’s gymnasium.
This year’s valedictorian is Hunter Carlsen.
Patterson, who received the school’s Christian Service Award, will address the crowd as salutatorian.
His father, Pastor Jeff Patterson of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Brownstown, will deliver the commencement sermon, and teacher Justin Vorthmann will give the commencement address.
While at Trinity, Seth Patterson was in the marching band and National Honor Society, served as a Dream It Do It ambassador, a peer tutor and mentor and worked on the backstage crew for school drama productions. He also played varsity soccer and ran track for four years.
Seth is the son of Jeff and Tammy Patterson and has two older brothers, Timothy and Zac, and an older sister, Caleh.
He recently took the time to answer some questions about his upcoming graduation, his years at Trinity and his future plans.
How does it feel to know you will be graduating in a couple of weeks?
It honestly is a surreal and bittersweet moment. I am ready to begin the next step in life by going to college, but at the same time, it feels like it wasn’t that long ago that I was just a freshman or sophomore.
Did you attend Trinity all four years or did you transfer in later? What made you want to go to Trinity?
I have attended Trinity for all four years. We moved into the area from Texas just before the beginning of my freshman year, so the main thing that made Trinity attractive was the fact that it is a Lutheran high school.
You received Trinity’s Christian Service Award. What does that award mean, and how did you feel about receiving it?
First of all, I would like to mention that the award was named after David Sandhage this year, and that makes receiving the award infinitely more special. I had a tremendous amount of respect for him as a teacher and as a person. I was chosen by my fellow classmates for this award, and it is something that I will never forget for the rest of my life. They respect me for my values, and I have respect for them for helping guide me to who I am today and helping me in the struggles I’ve had from year to year. One person who was and still is key in helping me stay strong in the faith and making me a better person is fellow classmate Kourtney Pottschmidt.
Note: David Sandhage was a well-loved and respected special education teacher at Trinity who died last May from a head injury following a fall from a ladder at his Jennings County farm.
What will you miss most about Trinity?
I will miss the close-knit environment that Trinity offers. All of the teachers know you very well and truly want what is best for you. It is also possible to get to know pretty much all of the other students, and I know that I have made some lifelong friendships at Trinity. I will miss being with all of the people that I have come to care about every day.
Do you have any memories that stick out in your mind from your four years at Trinity that you would like to share?
One memory is kind of a time frame. The first couple of weeks my freshman year, I was a shy kid, and so starting at a new school was a terrifying prospect. But everyone was so kind and quick to let me into their lives that I had some best friends almost right away. I will never forget the kindness that people showed me in the early stages of my high school career.
How will your time at Trinity prepare you for life?
Trinity has prepared me as a Christian person in that I have a stronger faith than ever, and through Trinity, I have learned key values that will allow me to succeed later. I have also been prepared for college and a future career through the outstanding education that is offered at Trinity.
What were your favorite subjects/classes? Why?
My favorite subjects were my math-related classes as well as my Spanish classes. I greatly enjoyed math because the teachers are fantastic and make it enjoyable, and they are also willing to put in an extraordinary amount of effort to make sure you understand what is being taught. I enjoyed Spanish for the same reason. My teachers made these subjects something I wanted to learn, and therefore, I made it a goal to do well and succeed in those classes.
Was there any teacher that had a major influence on you? How did they impact you?
Yes, Mr. (Justin) Vorthmann had and still is having a profound impact on my life. I have the utmost respect for him. He puts responsibility on his students, and he respects us. Through these things, he subtly shapes you into a better person. You don’t even realize that is happening, but I have become a vastly better person because of him. High school and quite frankly my life would not be the same without this outstanding teacher and friend.
What are your plans?
I will be attending Purdue University to study aerospace engineering while also participating in their Air Force ROTC program.
What advice do you have for students at Trinity?
Three extremely important things. First of all, hang in there. I know from experience that you will go through some rough times, but it is through adversity that we become better. Stick with your studies, and give true effort in all you do; trust me, it will pay off. Second, enjoy your time at Trinity. I can assure you that the time does fly by, and when you are about to graduate, you will wonder how it passed so quickly. Make the most of what goes on, and enjoy it. Finally, be sure to thank your teachers. They put so much extra time and effort to make sure that you understand it and to help if you are struggling. They do this because they truly care about us and want us to succeed. The least we could do is thank them for all of their efforts and make sure their efforts were not in vain by trying our hardest at everything we do.
What: Trinity Lutheran High School graduation
When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: The school’s Bollinger Athletic Complex