June 1, 2022

Purdue Polytechnic High Schools to celebrate several firsts with upcoming graduation

INDIANAPOLIS and SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Purdue Polytechnic High Schools – with locations in Indianapolis and South Bend – will celebrate its second graduating class on June 10 with a series of firsts.

The network will graduate its first four-year class from PPHS North and also have graduates from PPHS South Bend, which opened in fall 2020. PPHS leadership, coaches (teachers), family and friends will celebrate the Class of 2022 with a commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. ET on June 10 at PPHS Schweitzer Center at Englewood, 3029 E. Washington St., Indianapolis.

PPHS was established first in Indianapolis to build new K-12 pathways that lead to Purdue University, especially for Hoosier students who are underserved by traditional high schools and underrepresented in higher education.

There are 113 candidates for graduation from the three locations. The number from each school is:

The Class of 2022’s post-high school plans include:

  • 34 – or 30% – have accepted their admission offers to Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.
  • 40 – or 35% – have been accepted at other higher education institutions.
  • 13 – or almost 12% – will attend trade schools or have signed up for military service.
laneman-nathan Nate Laneman, Class of 2022 from PPHS South Bend (Purdue University photo/Charles Jischke) Download image

Student addresses will be given by Ahrion Jones (PPHS North), Nate Laneman (PPHS South Bend) and Victor Chuckuowcha (PPHS Schweitzer Center at Englewood).

"All of us at PPHS took a great deal of pride in last year's historic first graduating class. It is with equal pride that we celebrate our second class, which includes graduates from all three PPHS campuses. These graduates have persevered through a pandemic and temporary locations to successfully complete their high school journey,” said Scott Bess, PPHS executive director. “We once again had 30% of our graduates accepted to Purdue University in West Lafayette, setting a standard for all future classes to meet or exceed.”

Established in 2017, the growing, multischool PPHS system immerses students and their families in an innovative learning community. PPHS offers tuition-free, authentic, STEM-focused experiences that prepare high school students for a successful future. These experiences include internships, industry projects, dual-credit courses and technical certifications. PPHS also offers its students a unique path to college; graduates who achieve Purdue’s admission requirements are assured admission to many of the university’s programs.

Watch Building a Pipeline: PPHS Origins Story to learn how and why Purdue Polytechnic High School is revolutionizing education and changing students’ lives.

Both PPHS at Englewood and PPHS North are innovation schools through a partnership with Indianapolis Public Schools. PPHS South Bend is a public charter school. All schools work to address the declining number of students – especially underrepresented minority students – who were applying and being accepted to Purdue from Indianapolis Public Schools and South Bend Community School Corporation districts.

medina-alan Alan Medina, Class of 2022 from PPHS South Bend (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) Download image

One of the students who is converting his small step to a giant leap is Alan Medina, a Class of 2022 member from PPHS at Englewood. In the fall, Medina will be attending Purdue, where he plans on majoring in mechanical engineering technology.

“I’ve been interested in STEM ever since I was a little kid,” Medina said. “But my four years at PPHS really showed me what Purdue has to offer. During my junior year of high school, I lived at Purdue for a month in the summer and experienced campus to the fullest. That’s when I knew Purdue was for me.”

As a first-generation student, Medina didn’t have family members to mentor him through the college application process. Attending PPHS, where self-directed learning empowers students to take charge of their own education, taught him to be resourceful and advocate for himself to achieve success.

Medina participated in several extracurricular activities at PPHS, including robotics, cross country, mock trial, a city council commission and the IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis) SPAN program, which provides the opportunity for motivated high school students to take college courses for credit. By completing dual-credit courses offered by PPHS, Medina’s college credits will transfer to Purdue Polytechnic Institute in West Lafayette.

During his freshman year, Medina participated in an industry project where he was part of a team solving a problem for Citizens Energy Group, an Indianapolis-based utility company. The students met with industry professionals and learned about resource management.

“Through industry projects, I applied STEM concepts to real-world issues,” Medina said. “I used to believe that the problems that our community faced were impossible to solve. Working with industry partners showed me that no effort is too small, and it can lead to innovative ideas. Now, when I encounter a problem, I implement the design thinking skills I’ve learned.”

Nate Laneman, of South Bend, will be one of several students to give remarks and participate in the commencement.

Laneman transferred to PPHS last year and is graduating a year early. He will attend Purdue this summer to begin work on his mechanical engineering degree.

“Attending PPHS is similar to being in college in terms of how your education is in your own hands, and you can take charge of your schoolwork and determine your own pace of study,” Laneman said. “Coming to PPHS afforded me a lot more opportunity to direct my future.”

Working at his own pace motivated Laneman to take responsibility for his education in ways he hadn’t been challenged to attempt in more traditional school environments.

“One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that effort and hard work goes a long way,” he said. “PPHS is a great launchpad that set me on the path to Purdue. There are so many great things I’ll have the opportunity to experience. This is only the beginning.”

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu

Writer, Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell), oatesw@purdue.edu, @mo_oates

Sources: Scott Bess, sbess@pphs.purdue.edu; Ellen Walsh, ewalsh@pphs.purdue.edu

Note to journalists: Journalists interested in attending or covering the PPHS graduation ceremony should contact Matthew Oates at oatesw@purdue.edu. Images are available via Google Drive.

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