Class of 2012 Takes Photo in front of Elmhurst

By Rachel Martin

July 15, 2012 Updated Jul 15, 2012 at 6:13 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Former students of Elmhurst High School pose for a graduation photo in front of the school.

Out of approximately 200 hundred Seniors who would've graduated from Elmhurst High School this year, only 16 showed up, but it didn't stop them from capturing the moment by taking a class photo Sunday afternoon.

“We got to see last year's graduating class get to come out here stand on the steps and take pictures,” said Tessa Seigel who organized the picture. “We contributed to the school too, so we wanted to be part of it just as well.”

“We spent two years of our high school career here, so of course, it’s a big part of us,” said Robert Ortise, who also helped organize the photo.

Last year, 50 students showed up from the Class of 2011. Sam Zook, who organized last year’s photo, says he wasn’t that surprised with the turn out.

“Last year we had people who were only gone for a year from Elmhurst,” Zook explained. “This year it's two years and next year it'll be three years if they do it again. So you have fewer and fewer people who are tied to their old high school versus the one they go to every day.”

When Elmhurst closed in 2010, Cortise and Seigel had just finished their sophomore year. All the students were separated and dispersed to other schools like Northrop, North Side, South Side, and Wayne High Schools, away from the friends and teachers they've known.

“It was rough. It took a year to adjust. It didn't come easy,” said Cortise. “The seniors that year kind of got to pick. We got the raw end of the deal.”

“They didn't want us there,” said Seigel. “It was different for us because we thought if they came our school then we would've accepted them.”

But now the Class of 2012 is back, sporting their caps and gowns in the colors of the schools they graduated from. Cortise was transferred to Wayne and then to Northrop where he graduated. Seigel was transferred to Wayne.

“At first I wasn’t happy with it, but I like the way things ended up because I think it’s made me a better person,” said Cortise who also admits he thinks about what it would’ve been like to graduate from Elmhurst all the time.

Sara Guardiola and Karina McCaleb were both transferred to South Side. “We made a lot of new friends,” said Guardiola.

“Yeah we made a lot of new friends so we got used to it,” said McCaleb.

“Also the Elmhurst kids, we've gotten closer, I think, through this since we share that experience,” Guardiola continued.

For the Class of 2012, the photo is a little closure from the school that's no longer open.

“It means a lot. We get to reconnect with people we haven’t seen in two years,” said Seigel. “It's awesome! We get to see their smiling faces.”

“Little memories here and there, because that's all Elmhurst is now—a memory. A good one,” said Cortise.

“It's like, full circle,” said Guardiola.

“Yeah, come back around and stuff. It’s neat to see how everybody’s changed and they’ve all accomplished what they wanted to accomplish,” said McCaleb.

Seigel will be attending Indiana Tech in the Fall, majoring in Crime Analysis. Cortise currently works at a hair salon and will be stylist once he get’s his license through Anthis Career Center. Guardiola will major in Nursing at the University of St. Francis, and so will McCaleb at Kentucky Christian University. But no matter where they go, they all know where they came from.

“Always a Trojan...forever,” said Cortise with a smile.

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