Marais des Cygnes Valley High School graduates begin new chapter in life

Marais des Cygnes Valley High School Class of 2016. Photo by Kramer Photos.

“This class is not the end, no, but rather the beginning of the rest of our lives,” Marais des Cygnes Valley High School valedictorian Cody Patterson told his fellow graduates at the Sunday, May 8, 2016, high school commencement ceremony. “But as we close this chapter, we begin another.”

The 2016 salutatorian Bonni Beery encouraged classmates to begin their new chapters by working “hard at whatever you do, stay out of trouble, and you will be rewarded.”

Both scholars recognized all the mothers at the Mother’s Day graduation, and thanked them for all they’ve done to help the students reach success.

With the presentation of the class by MdCV Principal Thad Thurston, USD 456 board members Mark Goodrich and Mark Lacey handed diplomas to the 2016 graduating class of Marais des Cygnes Valley High School.

Earning diplomas were: Carey Floyd Allen, Curtis Chase Allen, Chevelle Annette Balcacer, Bonni Kassidy Beery, Mallory Lynn Bialek, Christian James Cannon, Alexa Lauren Cox, Brock Matthew Criss, Victoria Sara Jean Flewelling, Kenneth Scott Freeman, Alexandria Bethany Goddard, Zarin Dawn Goodrich, Daniel Tracy Jackson Jr., Louis Robert Madden III, Eric Wade Marshall Jr., Marquise Brayon Mitchell, Dakota Layne Nixon, Sydney Paige Parker, Cody Riggins Patterson, Michael Dean Penland II, Dalton Evertt Reece, Rebekah Lynn Roach, Teavor Adam Syens, Allison Ruth Taylor, Nicholas Brian Williams.

Awards and scholarship recipients among the class were recognized as follows:

  • Citizenship Awards – Bonni Beery, Cody Patterson
  • Dale Dennis Education Award – Bonni Beery
  • Governor’s Scholar – Cody Patteson
  • Community Service Award – Sydney Parker, Rebekah Roach
  • Carol and Jessie Thurston Memorial – Sydney Parker
  • Barb Kellum Scholarship – Sydney Parker
  • MdCV Booster Club – Bonni Beery, Alexa Cox, Sydney Parker, Cody Patterson
  • Woodward, Belt Heilmann, Arb, American Legion and Auxiliary Scholarship – Cody Patterson
  • Hometown Agriculture Scholarship – Zarin Goodrich
  • MdCV FFA Scholarship – Bonni Beery, Alexa Cox, Zarin Goodrich
  • Don Lichtenauer Family Scholarship – Zarin Goodrich
  • Wendell Allison Memorial – Bonni Beery, Cody Patterson
  • William Lucas Memorial – Bonni Beery, Cody Patterson
  • Melvern Marais des Cygnes Alumni Association – Bonni Beery, Alexa Cox, Zarin Goodrich, Marquise Mitchell, Cody Patterson, Allison Taylor
  • Lala Beth Weis Memorial – Sydney Parker
  • R.E. French Family Educational Foundation – Chevelle Balcacer, Cody Patterson
  • Garard Family Scholarship – Bonni Beery
  • Lawrence Lester McNabb Scholarship – Cody Patterson



Marais des Cygnes Valley Junior High School graduation was held later in the afternoon on Mother’s Day, with the following graduating: Grace Anne Bradley, Kaelin McGrath Criqui, Tristen Lynn Duncan, Andera Mary Goddard, Sarah Nicole Green, Joseph David Heuer, Garrett Ray Holloway, Carson Scot Jones, Bayleigh Lynn Lacey, Katlin Aliece McCollom, Sadie Elizabeth May McGowin, Gage Allen McKenzie, Haylee Danielle Miles, Lanie Elizabeth Patterson, Koby James Vanderpool, Frank Emry Warner.

Valedictorian and Salutatorian speeches

By 2016 MdCV Salutatorian Bonni Beery

Hello everyone! We have all gathered here today to celebrate someone you know in the graduating class. Marais des Cygnes Valley is a wonderful school and I know I would not have wanted to go anywhere else. Here we received opportunities that many do not.

Since we are a small school everyone builds bonds with each other. Some of us have been together since kindergarten – Alexa, Dalton, Cody, and Brock are the only ones. We know each other so well that all the way across the field at a track meet we can tell who they are just by the way they touch their hair, or we can tell who just coughed without even seeing who did it. We really know each other.

Even though we are graduating, I believe many of us will keep in contact, whether it is just hanging out, watching someone perform in their concerts, or participating in sporting events.

Being together every day has led us to some unforgettable moments, like the time I ran into the football cube while playing kickball. Like seriously, who puts a metal contraption in the softball field? Even though you all laughed at my expense, I still love you guys. Each one of you are different and have helped me put pieces of my life together.

As Michael Wayne Volkman said: “Respect your elders, and don’t run with the idiots. Work hard at whatever you do, stay out of trouble, and you will be rewarded.” Even though this is a quote I hold dear, I feel it applies to each and every one of us! You are unique just like everyone else! Work hard and you will all find success.

Lastly, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers and grandmothers willing to share this day with us. Thank you for all you’ve done.

By 2016 MdCV Valedictorian Cody Patterson


Principal Thad Thurston presents the Lester McNabb award to Valedictorian Cody Patterson.

Welcome graduates, friends, family, and staff. It is my distinct pleasure and true honor to have the opportunity to address you today, and I would like to extend a huge thank you to all the moms.

As we sit here one last time together as a class and prepare to leave Marais des Cygnes Valley, we look back on our four years of high school. The strange faces that first greeted us became familiar as the faculty and administration became both our educators and our family. For them we dutifully wrote our not so perfect papers and waded through the required research. We studied poetry and learned theorems and formulas. We dissected frogs and experimented with chemical reactions, almost blowing up the chemistry lab. We learned how to say hello in French and Spanish. We learned quite a bit within those four years of high school. But it is the memories that we made that we will remember for a lifetime. From the pep rallies, hanging out at the luaus, going to the Royals baseball game, or just being together as a class, we really did become a family.

Probably some of the most important time we spent was in the band or on the fields and courts of MdCV, where we spent countless hours getting better and working to outplay everyone and to beat those Waverly Bulldogs. We learned to count on one another and knew that when we needed them they would be there. I believe this is where we as a class have built such a strong bond that we will never forget

At the end of each year we have always said goodbye and see you next year, but this is different. Today, as we gather here, we say a different kind of goodbye. The dictionary defines “commencement” as “a beginning.” This class is not the end, no, but rather the beginning of the rest of our lives. But as we close this chapter, we begin another. This time with new teachers, new facilities, and new friends, but we never forget our time here at MdCV.

Remember that from here on out it is your choice what you do with your life. It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that,” than to look back and say, “I wish I had done that.”

Again, I would like to thank all of the family members, faculty, and community members who have worked so hard to get us here, to graduation. We will truly miss all you have done for us and are eternally grateful. And to my classmates, I thank you for the memories and great times you have given me. I will never forget you guys. Thank you.


Marais des Cygnes Valley High School Class of 2016.

Photos thanks to Kramer Photos, Melvern, Kan.

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