Lyndon High School graduates roar off to live their dreams, ‘be what they want to be’

Wearing Lyndon Tigers’ traditional colors, the LHS class of 2018 said their goodbyes to high school life. Photo by Bill Patterson.

Graduation season highlights the efforts of young students to learn all they could in 13 years of school, and the expectation they will use those lessons learned to confront the world as adults. Lyndon High School science and math teacher Anne Bichel addressed the graduates and their family and friends gathered in the gymnasium for the LHS commencement on May 13, 2018, telling them about watching the students grow into young adults.

“I’ve loved watching you make your plans for the future,” Bichel said. “Getting text messages from you about receiving a full ride scholarship is very exciting. Getting wedding invitations in the mail is also very exciting. No matter what you plan to do, whether you are going to the military, tech school, a four-year college, or joining the work force, we teachers are proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished. It gives me great joy to be here with you on this
day, as you close one chapter of your life and begin a new chapter. This is why we adults get so excited about graduation. You are at a point in your life that we have all passed. You are young and fresh and get to choose any path you want.”

Lyndon High School’s two valedictorians and the salutatorian reminded this year’s 35 graduates of their years of hard work and accomplishments, and encouraged them to take their gained knowledge and determine their own successes.

Salutatorian Michaela Forkenburg spoke about all of the lessons learned at Lyndon schools.

“We have made most of our decisions here and each one of those decisions has come with a consequence,” Forkenburg said. “Some were bad decisions resulting in bad consequences, while others were great decisions resulting in great consequences. Each one of those decisions that came with a consequence resulted in a lesson learned.

“Through sports, clubs, extracurriculars, and attending classes every day, we have been exposed to an abundance of opportunities to make decisions, which all led to consequences, and then to a life lesson,” she said.

“Whether we look at the positive aspect of the lesson, or the negative, each one benefitted us in some way. Every single lesson we have learned has shaped our class into who we are today,” Forkenburg said.

Forkenburg encouraged her classmates to keep learning. “Continue to make decisions and gain knowledge from their consequences,” she said, “but remember – always stay humble and kind.”

Valedictorian Lauren Volkman urged her classmates to use their learned lessons and personal growth to fulfill their dreams.

“The most important thing we have done as a class is grow together,” Volkman said.

“Our motto was ‘Dream what you dare to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be, live!’” she said. “Do not let other people tell you what you want to be. It is scary thinking that these next few years will determine how we spend the rest of our lives but do not let that stop you from being you.”

Vokman also encouraged the graduates to not forget where they came from.

“Lyndon is where we grew up; where we made friends,” she said. “Where we learned right from wrong, the hard way. It is where we discovered who we truly are. So take all the lessons learned from this small town and make them useful as you move on to the next chapter of your life.”

Valedictorian Gretchen Newberry noted the graduates would see their successes as the result of hard work.

“Not only does hard work pay off, but it is an essential component success,” Newberry said.

She cautioned them about getting “caught up in the stress and frustration of everyday life,” and urged them to “choose to see the good” to reach success.

“I define success as impacting the lives of others in a positive way or doing something that you love and finding full contentment in your life,” Newberry said. “We are all about to embark on a journey, and we have the power to decide whether or not we will be successful. Your first step to success is defining it, the rest is pretty easy. We’re a off to achieve great things and I’m excited to see what each and every one of you will accomplish. So go out and be successful.”

After receiving inspirational words, the graduates prepared to receive their diplomas, with LHS Principal Brad Marcotte presenting the class for graduation.

Members of the USD 421 Board of Education presented diplomas to the following 2018 graduates of Lyndon High School: Levi Austin Bingham, Makayla Nicole Bingham, Jacob C. Burrell, Anastasia Louise Emley, Michaela Marie Forkenbrock, Jaden Dylan Hielscher, Tyler Joseph House, Hailey Nichole Houser, Natalie Michelle Hughes, Veronica Kennedy Hughes, Victoria Elizabeth Hughes, Mason Jeffery Krause, Brandon Lee Lane, Aimee Lynn Lemmon, Michael Aaron Lucas, Mychaela Lynn Lynch, Gunnar Jacob Markham, Garrett Michael McCoy, Nathan Patton Miller, David James Moore, Brianna Marie Myers, Gretchen Elizabeth Newberry, Jamie William Reed, Shaugn Isaiah Reed, Eric Davis Rickel, Claira May Spurgeon, Levi James Stevicks, Dexton Edward Swinehart, Owen James Tillman, Emma Kathryn Unruh, Brittani JoAnn VanWinkle, Lauren Grace Volkman, Josie Ray Whitaker, Jacob Patrick Elliott Willard, and Clayton Wayne Woodward.

Senior class sponsors were Lori Catron and Teresa Fitch. Junior escorts for the commencement were Kennedy Criqui, Lake Croucher, Josie Crawford, and Aaron Brosch. USD 421 superintendent is Chuck Coblentz. USD 421 Board of Education members are Eric Ratzloff, David Brecheisen, Bryant Derley, Lori Sturdy, Lisa Baker, Melissa Herdman, and Joe Isch.

Post Secondary Scholarships

  • Gretchen Newberry – Elks Organization of Kansas, K- State Putnam Scholarship, Lyndon Alumni Scholarship, Behrens Scholarship
  • Claira Spurgeon – Basketball Scholarship to play at Bethel College, Lyndon Alumni Scholarship, USD 421 Endowment Scholarship
  • Gunnar Markham – Football and yell leader at Mid America Nazarene, Lyndon Alumni Scholarship
  • Garrett McCoy – KSU Polytech Scholarship
  • Emma Kate Unruh – Kansas State University Scholarship
  • Ana Emley – Kansas State University Scholarship, Lyndon Alumni Scholarship, Terri Morris Scholarship, Behrens Scholarship
  • Jaden Hielscher – Lyndon Alumni Scholarship, USD 421 Endowment Scholarship, UMKC Scholarship
  • Mason Krause – Van Hoy academic scholarship and a football scholarship from Doane University, Lyndon Alumni Scholarship, USD 421 Endowment Scholarship, Masconic Lodge Scholarship
  • Nate Miller – Masonic Lodge Essay Scholarship

The following students will be attending Emporia State University. In addition, they will also be receiving a $500 scholarship per semester for four years from the Jones Foundation of Emporia because they live in Osage County.

  • Dexton Swinehart – Football scholarship at Emporia State University, USD 421 Endowment Scholarship, West Star Bright Star Scholarship
  • Owen Tillman – Emporia State Scholarship
  • Lauren Volkman – Emporia State Scholarship, USD 421 Endowment Scholarship, West Star Bright Star Scholarship, Masonic Lodge Essay Scholarship, Lyndon CBW scholarship, Behrens Scholarship
  • Aimee Lemmon – Emporia State Scholarship and a scholarship to the Honors
    College, Lyndon Alumni Scholarship
  • Mychaela Lynch – Emporia State Scholarship
    Michaela Forkenbrock – Rudd Scholarship, Emporia State Scholarship, Behrens Scholarship, Elise Stout Memorial Scholarship, Lyndon CBW Scholarship

Citizenship Awards

The Kansas Stale High School Activities Association annual Citizenship awards are presented during the Kansas junior high school and high school commencement exercises in May. These certificates are awarded to one graduating girl and one graduating boy who have proven to be outstanding citizens. Young people who qualify for the honor meet the criteria of respect, responsibility, and reverence.

Recipients of the Lyndon High School KSHSAA Citizenship award were Claira Spurgeon, the daughter of Brian Spurgeon and Kim Spurgeon, and Levi Stevicks, son of Monte and Susan Stevicks. Along with the certificate, Claira and Levi received a donation of $1,000 for each student from an anonymous donor.

Photo thanks to Bill Patterson.

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