Burlingame High School seniors follow their dreams toward the future

BHS 2016 graduates, front, from left: Breanna Smith, Shelbie Peterson, Tiffany Burns, Kady Akers, Ali Vandevord, Hannah Young, Taylor Carson, Anna Quaney, Kaitlyn Hoskins, Nikki Ritter, Victoria Wright; second row, Boone Dodson, Remington Zwink, Harrison Zwink, Phoenix Boner-Mundy, Dalton Morris, Austin Jones, Robert Farrar, Dawson Marshall; back, Tanner Tyson, Layton Dreyer, Harrison Summers, Robert Hutchins, Clay Thomas, Dalton Droege, Paul Holt, David Love. Photo by Keri Welch.

Believing in the beauty of their dreams, and ready to claim their future, 27 seniors graduated at Burlingame High School, last Saturday, May 14, 2016.

With a class motto of “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” by Eleanor Roosevelt, the class’ salutatorian and valedictorian encouraged the graduates to follow their dreams but not forget those who helped them achieve their goal.

Valedictorian Clay Thomas told about graduation being a recurring dream for him. He said, “Four years ago, graduation was just that; a dream. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here,” but he credited teachers, school staff, and family for helping the students reach graduation.

Salutatorian Hannah Young also pointed to others for the seniors’ successes, “It’s been a long four years, but we have persevered and all of our work has paid off. However, this was not done all on our own; we could not have done it without the help of so many others. It is because of these people that we have been successful and owe gratitude to.” She also encouraged her classmates to continue to believe in their dreams: “Set the bar high and never stop chasing after what you want.”

With presentation of the class by Burlingame High School Principal Tammy Baird, acceptance by Kris Kline, USD 454 Board of Education president, school board members presented diplomas to the graduating seniors: Kady Nicole Akers, Phoenix Steven Boner-Mundy, Tiffany Lynn Burns, Taylor Jean Carson, Boone O’Brien Dodson, Layton David Dreyer, Dalton Evan Droege, Robert Allen Farrar, Paul Allen Holt, Kaitlyn Rebecca Ann Hoskins, Robert Lee Hutchins III, Austin David Jones, David Josiah Love, Dawson James Marshall, Dalton Dean Morris, Shelbie Lea-Ann Peterson, Anna Nicole Quaney, Nikki Elisabeth Ritter, Breanna Nichole Smith, Harrison Todd Summers, Clay Stewart Thomas, Tanner Reece Tyson, Ali Elaine Vandevord, Victoria Lynn Atchinson Wright, Hannah Lauren Young, Harrison Robert Zwink, Remington Leon Zwink.

The 2016 senior class sponsors were Shelley Banzhaf and MaryAnne McNeal.


 Valedictorian, Salutatorian Addresses

By Valedictorian Clay Thomas

I would like to welcome all of you fine ladies and gentlemen here tonight! I’m going to start this speech off with a story. Four score and seven years ago, I had a dream. A dream, that one day, we seniors would graduate. You know, now that I think about it, that dream was last night, um, and the night before, and the night before and … Anyways, I know that today is something that many of us have been dreaming about for a long, long, long time.

Four years ago, graduation was just that; a dream. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here. So if I could get a round of applause for all these seniors up here, that would be great. You know, it’s amazing that all of us have made it this far. I mean, seriously, if you would have told me back in junior high that a certain guy whose name starts with R and ends with obert; I’ll give you guys a second to put it together. If someone had told me Robert was going to graduate, I would have just laughed and said no way, he can’t keep his mouth closed long enough.

So, the fact that we will ALL be walking across this stage tonight is a huge credit to our teaching staff here. Both past and present teachers here have done a wonderful job. I know we didn’t make it easy on any of you guys, and at some times we were a downright terror, but you all stepped up to the challenge. Some of you teachers have only been here for a year or two, you didn’t get to witness us back in our primes. However, there are a few unlucky ones that have been with us throughout high school that I’m sure could give you a few horror stories. One of them is Mrs. Welch, I can still remember her yelling at me for always having chicken poop on my shoes during class. So once again, thank you teachers for putting up with us over the years.

But, it’s not just the teachers that have dealt with us throughout, we’ve made quite a mess over the years for our janitors. I still get flashbacks to Mr. Burkdoll yelling at us to not play with the soap dispensers. In fact, earlier this year, I had the pleasure of scrubbing the entire baseboard of Mr. Brungardt’s room, and it gave me a whole new perspective on what they do every day. It’s not a fun job, and they don’t receive anywhere near the gratitude they deserve. If anyone was wondering, I only spilled ONE Cheez-it – that was it. But anyways, thank you guys.

There are so many other people out here to thank, like the coaches who’ve dealt with us shooting in the wrong basket (cough*Tanner*cough). I’m sure I’m missing a few people, sorry if I do, don’t mean to. But I believe the biggest thank you has to go out to the families of these fine young adults standing before you. I’m not just talking about parents, but everyone. Grandparents, siblings, cousins, anyone who’s had an influence on our youth. Without you guys, we’d be lost. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you, and possibly helping your child cause a little extra trouble. I know that I would have no idea what to do without my parents. My grandparents have always been there for me as well, through all the ups and downs. So thank you, to all the families.


By Salutatorian Hannah Young

The day that we have been working so hard for has finally arrived. It’s been a long four years, but we have persevered and all of our work has paid off. However, this was not done all on our own; we could not have done it without the help of so many others. It is because of these people that we have been successful and owe gratitude to.

To our teachers, thank you for giving us your time to teach and being patient with us. You explained assignments, sometimes having to repeat yourselves because we were not listening the first time. You allowed us to come in before and after school hours to get help or just to get in some extra work. You made lessons more interesting so that we would focus a little bit better. Whether or not we wanted to do the required work, you wanted us to excel so you challenged us to live up to it. Although we could be a pretty rowdy class at times, you gave us the time regardless and we thank you for that.

To our parents and families, thank you for always being there and being our biggest supporters. You made sure that we had everything we needed in order to be successful. You made sure we went to school and got our homework done, among everything else. You even gave us our space to learn and figure things out on our own, whether you really wanted to quite yet or not. You supported our extracurricular activities and sporting events, sometimes missing work for us. You also listened to us complain and drag on about how we couldn’t wait to be done with high school. Now here we are graduating and you’re still our biggest supporters, so thank you for everything you have done and continue to unselfishly do for us.

To our coaches, thank you for making school more fun. Sports have taught us so many more life lessons than school ever could, while having fun at the same time. It’s taught us to always give our best effort and to show good sportsmanship, regardless of the situation. It’s also taught us to work with others to achieve a common goal. You gave us your time working so hard for us to be better and come out on top. While this was time you could have been spending with your families or doing something else, you chose us and we thank you so very much for that.

To our superintendent, principal, and counselor, thank you for making sure that everything went along smoothly. You allowed for our teachers to put all of their focus on us and we are better because of this.

To the custodial staff, you know better than anyone how messy we can be. Thank you for keeping our school looking nice day after day.

To all of our friends and classmates, thank you for making high school a fun and exciting experience. If it weren’t for you guys, this place wouldn’t have been so lively and not to mention a little more bearable to come to every day. You helped make memories that we will never forget and be able to cherish forever.

I’d also like to say a big thank you to anyone else that I may have missed. Each and every one of you have helped create us into the people we are today.

And finally, to the class of 2016, as we close this chapter of our lives and anxiously stumble into the next, I wish nothing but the best for each and every one of you. Set the bar high and never stop chasing after what you want. I have enjoyed having you guys as my classmates and I will miss you all very dearly. Thank you.

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BHS graduates’ finale: Hats in the air! Photo by Keri Welch.

Photos thanks to Keri Welch.

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