Four Chesterton Juniors Selected as Rising Stars!

Chesterton’s Top Juniors are Recognized for their Academic Achievement.


Image Provided via the Duneland School Corporation Website.

Gigi Hanner, Sandscript Author

Chesterton High School has named 4 ‘Rising Stars’ from the junior class of 2023. These four students were chosen based on their academic achievements during their first three years of high school. Saanya Agarwal, Ian Condes, Giovanni Depasquale, and Riley Hawksworth were selected by the Indiana Association of School Principals from a class of around 500 students as students with enormous potential and achievement. The Sandscript had the opportunity to talk to these individuals about their thoughts on being chosen.

Depasquale feels incredibly proud of his selection, “It means the world to me to be recognized for my academics, as I take a great amount of pride in them. To be selected out of so many hard-working, good kids that I have had the pleasure to know makes me feel honored to have received it.” 

Although Depasquale is excited by the recognition, he said it was an unexpected honor. 

I was surprised to receive this honor because, if I’m being honest, I didn’t know what the Rising Star program was until I was told that I was among the students who were selected to receive it by the school, so I was caught off guard to be told that I was getting this recognition, but excited nonetheless,” he stated.  

There isn’t any additional responsibility involved in being a rising star, but Depasquale is nonetheless motivated to continue working hard and making his family proud.

Riley Hawksworth is also proud of himself, but says his selection might matter more to his family. 

“It always feels great, but I think it’s actually more of a validation for my parents. They’re the reason why I’m in the position I am today and I couldn’t have done this without them, so it feels really good to be able to bring this home to them as proof that their efforts have paid off,” Hawksworth admits.  

Hawksworth was caught off guard by the recognition as well, saying “It was a complete surprise. I had never even heard of the award until Mr. Moore walked into my SRT and called me out into the hallway. To be honest, I was kind of worried, because I had only ever seen him during AP testing. I almost thought that there was some kind of issue with one of my scores, but luckily, I turned out to be pleasantly surprised.” 

For Saanya Agarwal, she feels her selection is helpful to those who aided her along the way, saying “It is truly an honor to be recognized by the school for this. I definitely feel like my hard work has paid off. However, I definitely have to attribute a lot of my success to my teachers, fellow classmates, and my mom. They have all helped me excel in school and my extracurriculars these past three years.” 

Agarwal believes that her Rising Star status will help her when the time comes to apply for college. 

It helps open the doors to new scholarships and opportunities. I am not completely sure what being a rising star entails. However, I was told that it helps with getting scholarships, which is very cool,” Agarwal says.

Like the other Rising Stars, Ian Condes had no idea he’d be receiving such recognition, saying “It feels kind of strange, to be honest. Usually, academics are not recognized as much as sports are in a school setting, so it was nice to see them recognize those who put a lot of time and effort into their academic work as well.” 

Condes was taken aback for another reason too. “I was very surprised to receive this title. I never had heard of the Rising Stars program before, so when I was told I was selected to be a Rising Star, I didn’t even know what I was selected for,” he concludes.

He also looks forward to seeing how his involvement affects his ability to receive scholarships in the future. 

All of the Rising Stars ought to be incredibly proud of their accomplishments, and the Sandscript congratulates them and wishes them luck as they continue their hard work into the future.