Lyndon High School valedictorians weave insightful lesson on impactful words

Lyndon High School class of 2019. Photo thanks to Bill Patterson.

Imagine, if you will, attending a graduation ceremony where seven valedictorians will give seven valedictorian speeches. First you might be ‘thankful,’ knowing your local public school had such free flowing knowledge to produce so many honor students. Second thought about lengthy speeches makes you think about the “courage” of the graduates to get to this point – added to “passion” and “positive” thinking reinforced by “confidence” and “integrity.” And then you realize all your trepidation has been “overcome” as the valedictorians show their wisdom by weaving a collaborative valedictorian speech – featuring succinct words that had been sewed into the fabric of their lives.

No imagination was needed for friends and family of the 36 seniors in the Lyndon High School class of 2019, as they gathered to celebrate the class’ accomplishments on Sunday, May 12, 2019, in the school gymnasium.

Jerry Rice, longtime mathematics teacher and guest speaker, was first to wish the graduating seniors good luck in their future, sharing his four steps to success – faith, family, passion and hope. Then he gave them one last assignment – give thanks to all those who supported them over the years and helped give them “the freedom that you have so you can be whatever you would like to be.”

Rice’s well wishes to the class served as a lead in for the valedictorians’ knitted speech. The 2019 LHS valedictorians and the words important to them were Cassidy Anderson, “thankful”; Kennedy Criqui, “courage”; Regan Martin, “passion”; Sadie Sellers, “positive”; McKenzy Harsch, “confidence”; Meghan Wendling, “integrity”; Madison Smitha, “overcoming”.

Cassidy Anderson laid out the first threads of the address, telling her fellow graduates, “At Lyndon High School we each learned one valuable word or message that we believe should be lived by or through each day. As each one of you transition into the next chapter of your lives, I encourage you to use these words and pieces of advice to lead each one of you to success in whatever you do.”

Anderson told how her word “thankful” was perhaps the most important because the support they had received was the main reason they were graduating.

“I want to encourage each one of you to thank the people in your life that have supported you up to this moment and that have helped you achieve such a big milestone in your life,” Anderson said.

Adding to the tapestry speech, Kennedy Criqui talked about “courage” and its effect on the class’ success. “It is a quality that each of my classmates possess and it is what sets us apart as individuals,” she said.

Criqui encouraged her classmates to be courageous as they leave high school, “A simple act of courage can enable one to discover who they are and who they want to be.”

Threading into courage, Regan Martin spoke of the need to have “passion” in all that we do. “These passions enable us to go places others are afraid to go, to try things others are afraid to do, and to be the kind of people that others are afraid to be,” she said.

“As you go throughout life, remember to do what you love and to not let anyone stop you from turning your dreams into a reality … I believe you all will be able to do anything you set your mind to,” Martin said.

Pointing out it took a lot of hard work, discussion, and collaboration to shorten seven speeches into one group speech, Sadie Sellers encouraged everyone to be “positive”.

“Adopting a positive attitude in life helps you to overcome all the setbacks life throws at you, and believe me high school is full of setbacks being thrown your way,” Sellers said.

“I encourage each of my fellow classmates to take each hardship that life throws and turn them into a lesson to help you grow while staying positive through life’s many ups and downs,” she concluded.

Encouraging her class to believe in themselves and live a life they’re proud of, McKenzy Harsch told her class they must have “confidence to pursue the things that bring us joy, even if those things stray from what is expected of us.”

Harsch said they should bolster the “confidence to decide what we want the rest of our lives to be. Next, we must put these plans into action by setting small goals to attain in order to get closer to where we want to be.

“So, to my class, I challenge you to carry forward the morals that have brought you to this day and to always remember what you are standing up for.”

Meghan Wendling weaved in “integrity,” remembering a lesson learned in Mr. Hoelting’s government class. “After that class period, I learned that integrity is directly related to being honest and having a certain standard for your morals,” she said.

She urged her classmates to “aim to be the best versions of ourselves” and challenged them “to carry forward the morals that have brought you to this day and to always remember what you are standing up for.”

Tying it together, Madison Smitha talked of the importance of gratitude to people who guided and helped the students “overcome” many obstacles, but noted there would be more.

“The diplomas that we receive today are like a learner’s permit for life,” she said. “Some of us will go to college, some of us will go to work, and some of us don’t know where we will go, but we will all continue to face obstacles and overcome them for the rest of our lives.”

Smitha seamed it up, “As mentioned before, always be thankful, have the courage to be who you want to be, have passion in everything you do, attack life with a positive attitude, be confident, and always stand up for what you believe in …

“And to the graduating class of 2019, life is full of obstacles,” Smitha said. “My challenge to you is not only to choose the route that overcomes these obstacles, but also choose the route that makes you happy.”

LHS Principal Brad Marcotte presented the 2019 senior class for graduation. Members of the USD 421 Board of Education presented diplomas to Cassidy Michelle Anderson, Amber Diane Armstrong, Haley Rae Brecheisen, Zachery Thomas Brooker, Aaron Drake Brosch, Tyton Gene Burton, Cayla Caralyn Conner, Josie Katelyn Crawford, Kennedy Danelle Criqui, Lake Austen Croucher, Chevy Jimmy Dylan Doles, Raylee Diane Emley, Race Davis Fischer, Alicia Marie Hanna, McKenzy Emma Harsch, Mackenzie Lynne Hull, Patrick Arlon Jones, Jeffrey Brian Lister, Noah Lozano, Regan Nicole Martin, Riley Elizabeth Martin, Noah Alexander Martinez, Makenna Mae McClain, Christien Haughn McDaniel, Chance Lane Miller, Annabelle Joy Moore, Cierra Lace Moore, Kayla Marie Rogers, Sadie Lynn Sellers, Jesina Damrin Smith, Madison Renee Smitha, Destiny Dawn Staley, Mariah TeAnn Wells, Meghan Rachel Wendling, Emma Lynn Wiley, and Arlyn Michael Womack.

Sponsors for the LHS class of 2019 were Lori Catron and Wendy Feltner. USD 421 superintendent is Chuck Coblentz. USD 421 Board of Education members are Eric Ratzloff, president, Dave Brecheisen, vice president, Lisa Baker, Melissa Herdman, Bryant Derley, Joe Isch, and Lori Sturdy.

Lyndon High School faculty includes Toby Baker, social studies; Michael Beying, agriculture, yearbook; Anne Bichel, science and mathematics; Racele Bilby, special services; Lori Catron, algebra; Donna Davis, library aide; Wendy Feltner, high school secretary; Teresa Fitch, board clerk, superintendent secretary; Frank Hart, language arts; Brent Hoelting, social studies; Michael Kaufman, instrumental music; Derek Kelsheimer, technology coordinator; Madelynn Knisley, vocal music, guitar; Teressa Martin, district treasurer, secretary; Michael Massey, physical education and strength training; Jamie Metcalfe, paraprofessional; Greg Morgan, biology; Kyleigh Naylor, paraprofessional; Julie Nelson, paraprofessional; Cindy Parker, language arts; Bill Patterson, counselor and visual arts; Judy Patterson, business education; Debbe Rafferty, paraprofessional; Jerry Rice, mathematics; Wes Skilling, paraprofessional; Juanita Spitzenberger, foreign language; Hannah Wilson, art education.

2019 LHS senior scholarships and awards

  • Cassidy Anderson – From MidAmerica Nazarene three scholarships, the Metz for $1,000, academic scholarship for $14,000 and a cheerleading scholarship. Elise Stout Scholarship $250.
  • Aaron Brosch – Flint Hills Technical scholarship for $1,000, and a Jones Fund voucher for $500 per semester to attend FHTC.
  • Josie Crawford – An Emporia State University Presidential Scholarship in the amount of $1,750 per year and a $500 per semester from the Jones Foundation. Lyndon Community Business Women’s Scholarship $750. Lyndon High School Education Scholarship $500. Lyndon Alumni Scholarship. Kelsey Lynn Sandstrom Smith Scholarship $1,000.
  • Kennedy Criqui – Wichita State Morrison Merit Scholarship in the amount of $3,500 per year. Lyndon Community Business Women’s Scholarship $500. Wolf Creek Bright Star Scholarship in the amount of $1,000. USD 421 Endowment Scholarship $750. Lyndon Alumni Scholarship. KSHSAA Award.
  • Raylee Emley – A Ft. Hays State University Academic Traditions Scholarship for $1,000 and a Department of Sociology from FHSU for $350. Teri Morris Memoria Scholarship $500. Lyndon Alumni Scholarship
  • McKenzy Harsch – A Farm Bureau scholarship in the amount of $250, a Kansas State University Academic Scholarship in the amount of $2,000 and a Kansas State University Agriculture Scholarship in the amount of $500.
  • Mackenzie Hull – Rudd Scholar. The Rudd Foundation Scholarship which will pay up to $85,000 over four years.
  • Patrick Jones – From St. Marys University, Patrick has been awarded the following scholarships: Discovery Scholarship $1,000, Trustees Scholarship $13,000, Leader Scholarship $3,000 and an art scholarship in the amount of $2,000. He has also earned the St. Vincent de Paul Scholarship for $2,000 and the local Knights of Columbus Scholarship for $1,000. Lyndon Alumni Scholarship. KSHSAA Award.
  • Regan Martin – MidAmerica Nazarene University has awarded Regan the following: a $14,000 university Academic Scholarship, the Metz Scholarship of $1,000 and a cheerleading scholarship from MidAmerica Nazarene as well.
  • Riley Martin – Has been awarded a MidAmerica Nazarene University Academic Scholarship, a scholarship to cheer at Mid America, and a Wanamaker Woods Church of the Nazarene Scholarship.
  • Makenna McClain – Has received three scholarships from Emporia State University, the Presidential Scholarship in the amount of $1,500, a saxophone scholarship in the amount of $800, and a marching band scholarship in the amount of $400. She will also be receiving a Jones Foundation for $500 per semester.
  • Annabelle Moore – Superpowers essay scholarship in the amount of $1,500, and a theatre scholarship from Fort Scott Community College.
  • Kayla Rogers – Cory Sprecker Military Memorial Scholarship.
  • Sadie Sellers – Hagan Foundation Scholar, worth up to $6,000 per semester, Bern Foundation Scholarship for $5,000 per year, and Wichita State’s Morrison Merit Scholarship in the amount of $3,500 per year. USD 421 Endowment Scholarship $750.
  • Jesina Smith – A Pell Grant for the amount of $6,195 and a Jones Foundation grant in the amount of $500 per year.
  • Madison Smitha – Colby Community College has awarded her an academic scholarship in the amount of $800.
  • Mariah Wells – An Emporia State University Presidential Scholarship in the amount of $2,450 per year and a Jones Foundation Scholarship in the amount of $500 per semester. Heather Lynn Arnold Scholarship.
  • Meghan Wendling – Concordia College annual $14,000 Presidential Scholarship, $1,500 Concordia College early grant application award, and an annual Concordia College Grant of $3,950. Hallmark-Hall Family Foundation Scholarship in the amount of $750 per semester. Lyndon Community Business Women’s Scholarship $500. USD 421 Endowment Scholarship $750. Lyndon Alumni Scholarship. Dale Denis Citizenship Award.
  • Emma Wiley – A Kansas State University Activities Scholarship Award for $1,500. Lyndon Alumni Scholarship.
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