Kaden Friend didn’t expect greatness at North Central as he walked through Door 1 four years ago but decided to pursue it. “I was considering not doing honors English,” he recalls. Yet he did take that class – and all other Advanced courses on his academic journey – including deciding to pursue the International Baccalaureate diploma. Kaden’s pursuit of doing well helped him achieve the class ranking of 5th in his class of 896 students. Pretty great!
Having half of his sophomore year and entire junior year scarred by the pandemic and its isolation, what he treasures most about his high school days is the interaction with other students and his favorite teachers. One can see a theme of interaction with this young man as his favorite youth group memory at FMC is of the van ride to Snow Camp for JYF. Yes, the three-hour van ride of music and laughs!
Studying has taken up a great deal of his time, yet he also found room in his schedule for a job at Rise and Roll Bakery in Broad Ripple. He enjoys the connection to Northern Indiana (all the baked goods come from Middlebury every day), and of course is not sad about leftover doughnuts to eat! You can also find Kaden shooting basketballs in the driveway, with NC intermural basketball also being a highlight of the “before” times his sophomore year and then again during his senior year. Watching YouTube is also a favorite pastime.
In thinking about advice to give the JYF, Kaden says “Make an effort to be involved.” He himself made the goal of being more involved and social in high school and feels this approach has given him a well-rounded experience of not just academics. For example, he was one of the co-leaders of Panther Quest, North Central’s freshman orientation program. Planning and leading a team to help 500 freshmen learn the ways of NC, especially in pandemic times, provided life lessons and friendships.
Come August, Kaden will experience his own freshman orientation as he heads to West Lafayette to attend Purdue University. He will be in the Honors College of the Krannert School of Management, studying accounting and business. Where will this experience lead him in five years (a question we ask all FMC seniors)? He pondered this, and with a grin said, “Doing big things, enjoying the real world.”
First Mennonite Church has always been part of Kaden’s world. From his baby dedication in 2004 to the senior sendoff held recently in May, the people of FMC have been Kaden’s village. Special shout out to Donna and Steve Haines who have come to birthday parties, “special person” days at elementary school and numerous soccer games through the years, showing Kaden what a church family is all about.
His perspective on being a kid at FMC has led to what has now been deemed “Kaden’s Challenge.” As captured in FMC’s weekly email, Kaden challenged FMC to continue advocating for our youth, to keep building good relationships, and to be a good community “’cause we’re a big part of a kid’s life.”
Thank you, FMC, for helping launch this bright young man into the world!
About the author
Kenda currently spends her days answering the question “What will you do when your nest is empty?” Anyone who knows Kenda knows she will not have a hard time staying busy with a variety of projects and pursuits. Her favorites, of course, will include visiting Kaden at Purdue and Klaine at Ohio State, along with trying new recipes with husband Brian that the kids wouldn’t eat.