I can’t believe it. I finally graduated from high school! It’s hard to believe I’ve been in school for 12 years already—and there is so much more to come! I’m excited to start my new life as a college student next fall at the University of Indianapolis while continuing as a professional race car driver. This past year wasn’t typical, and I know that many people didn’t get a traditional graduation. Social distancing, masks, and virtual ceremonies became the norm this year. Mine was different too. I spent my graduation at a race track!
I’ve been balancing school with racing since grade school, and that didn’t stop at graduation. Although I was racing in the Indianapolis area near home for one of only two weekends all year, my USF2000 race at Lucas Oil Raceway Park on Friday May 28th was scheduled to start at the exact time graduation ceremonies began for Avon High School. So, some arrangements were made and the series owner, Dan Andersen, was kind enough to present my diploma to me in a small ceremony at the track before the race.
With graduation complete, I feel like an official grown up now. With that comes independence. More relaxed curfews, more responsibility, and more consequences for my decisions – I have to really own it now. I remember that if I make a bad decision, all my hard work in high school will be for nothing. All my hard work to get into college will be for nothing. All the work to balance racing and school and other sports growing up, will have been for nothing. I have worked too hard in the past 12 years to throw it all away with one poor choice. Conversations with my parents, who have been great role models, have helped give me the confidence I need to make smart choices. Additionally, my friends at Responsibility.org have tons of resources to help people of all ages make healthy decisions about alcohol.
To celebrate graduation, we’re having a party complete with music, basketball, cornhole and BBQ. We’ll have coolers full of pop and water, and of course there will be cake for friends and family. These are all great ways to celebrate hard work that don’t risk destroying your future. Fellow high school grads – while you may be tempted to drink alcohol, it is important to remember that there are no do overs, and a irresponsible decision like that has the potential to ruin your life.
Here’s to making good, responsible choices, and congratulations to all graduates!
This post is sponsored by my partners at responsibility.org. I support their missions, but all opinions and messages here are my own.