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Southwestern valedictorian ready for new challenges at Indiana University

Christian DeArmitt had to think about the question, “When did you know you were smart?”


Ethan Wendling had the quicker answer, “When he was born.”


That brought a big laugh to DeArmitt, Southwestern High School’s Class of 2021 valedictorian. Wendling is the salutatorian.


DeArmitt has decided to follow in his family’s footsteps and attend Indiana University in the fall to study Business. Both his father and grandfather are IU graduates.


“It’s kind of a family thing,” said DeArmitt, the son of Mike and Jennifer DeArmitt.


With a little more thinking, DeArmitt came up with his own answer to the question.


“(Education) was definitely pushed from a young age. I was going to a bunch of summer stuff even before preschool,” he said. “That got me into reading at a young age, which is huge.


“I think in fourth grade when we saw some of the test scores, that kind of solidified things. My parents setting high expectations and starting at a young age, it put a lot of pressure on me but I guess it paid off.”


The road to graduation did not come easy, though. The COVID-19 pandemic made schools switch to virtual learning in March of 2020 and kept students out of the school setting for almost five months.


“It was a mixed experience,” said DeArmitt. “We were supposed to have a great baseball team and (the season) got cancelled. That was horrible.


“As far as school, I had some classes that took five minutes and some classes that took an hour. I was spending more time on some classes virtually than I would have in the classroom. So it was a mixed experience but I think we handled it pretty well compared to other schools.”


While his senior year was anything but normal, a full school year was held without resorting back to virtual learning.


“I give a lot of credit to the school administration and the teachers,” he said. “This was about as normal that I’ve heard schools getting comparatively to other states and other schools. It’s been a great experience.


“I got (close contact) quarantined a couple of times but that is part of it. For the most part, it’s been great athletically. Academically, it’s not been the best experience you could ask for in the middle of a pandemic.”


DeArmitt is now officially a graduate of Southwestern High School. Commencement ceremonies were Friday night. However, his athletic career is not yet complete.


DeArmitt, and Wendling, are members of the Spartans’ record-setting baseball program that captured its first sectional title Monday since 1999. Southwestern, now 22-4, will face Shakamak at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Morristown Regional.


Once the baseball season ends, DeArmitt can fully turn his attention toward IU and its pandemic policies, which are still being determined.


“What they have told us so far is they are going to try and do everything in person again … make it normal,” he said. “And vaccines are required. I already have mine. It will still be different but it will be a lot more normal than it has been.”


It will take some time away from Southwestern for DeArmitt to fully appreciate his senior year but he already knows it has turned out pretty special.


“I’m really enjoying this senior year winning all these sectionals,” he said. “This whole senior year has been pretty cool.”