On a recent warm and windy Sunday afternoon, more than 60 friends and relatives of Kristopher Kroeger celebrated with him under a large tent at his parent’s rural Warrick County home. Monday evening May 21 Kristopher completed his high school career with the class of 2012 from Boonville.
Kristopher’s mother Amy and I met at the University of Evansville swimming pool while our sons took swimming lessons together. Kristopher started swimming at 18 months and already swam with speed, grace, and above all, no fear.
Swimming is in his genes. His grandfather, William Conklin Jr., was a varsity swimmer at West Virginia University. Kristopher’s other proud grandparents are Darlene Conklin and Hattie and Ken Kroeger.
Kristopher’s swimming career took off from his early lessons at the Carson Center. Kristopher swam with the Boonville Aquatic Dolphins and the Boonville High School Swim Team. He has two varsity letters. His bedroom is filled with trophies and medals from more than a decade of competitive swimming.
In 2010 he represented Indiana at the National Special Olympics and won gold and silver medals and a fourth and fifth place in his events. He flew with his team from Indianapolis on a private plane, and his family traveled to Lincoln, Neb., for the trip of a lifetime.
Like many teenagers, Kristopher was excited about getting his driver’s license. He learned to drive over the last year and has been taking his sister Kelsey to school at Boonville Junior High. Kristopher had also been bugging his dad, Kendal, for what he called a “redneck” truck.
On the Tuesday before his graduation, Kristopher’s parents surprised him with his red 1994 Chevy Silverado. Kristopher was overjoyed. The truck is beautiful and might have to be pimped out a bit to reach Kristopher’s desired redneck look!
Kristopher, who has autism and a communication disorder, has an remarkable memory for historical details. He is particularly interested in the military and military equipment. You can’t stump him on identifying guns and tanks. He will beat you every time.
With the ceremony behind him, Kristopher joins other graduates looking for a job. Our family hired Kristopher a few times. He has a strong work ethic. Sometimes his parents have to slow him down a bit because of his generous heart and willingness to help.
As part of the Project Search program at Boonville High School, Kristopher worked at St. Mary’s Warrick Hospital and rotated through different departments. He has gained some valuable experience that I’m certain a local employer will find valuable.
Congratulations to Kristopher and his parents for all of your achievements. Kristopher — now you can take on the world!
Published May 2012 in the Evansville Courier and Press.