Santa Fe Trail High School 2023 graduates travel divergent paths to ‘grown up’ journey – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Santa Fe Trail High School 2023 graduates travel divergent paths to ‘grown up’ journey

Santa Fe Trail High School class of 2023. Courtesy photo.

With 61 graduates, Santa Fe Trail High School had the largest senior class in Osage County in 2023. The graduating class accepted diplomas at the school’s commencement ceremony May 13, 2023, at the school in rural Carbondale, Kan.

A quote of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” guided the class on their school years journey.

Salutatorian Max Black reminded classmates the class of 2023 was not the largest as compared to other SFTHS classes, “but we have plenty to hang our hats on.”

He pointed out the class was the last to have gone through the COVID shutdown during high school, and the pandemic was a challenge they faced together.

“There was no softball, baseball, golf, track, or anything else that happens in the spring,” Black said. “It presented a lot of obstacles in education and everyday life. It is already hard enough to focus at school alone, but then we were dragged into a remote learning environment.

“While coronavirus may seem like it was so long ago, I feel like it just needed to be addressed as part of this class’s journey.”

Addressing other more lighthearted challenges faced by the class, Black concluded, “I think that each and every graduate here today is capable of achieving great things.”

Salutatorian Aulysha Lester told her classmates they reached this point in the journey for one reason: “We grew up. All we’ve ever wanted was to grow up. Now, here we are, closing one chapter of our lives and turning the page to a new one.”

“We grew up learning and earning wisdom from the teachers we’ve had over the past 13 years, who

ignited something within us to be our best selves. We grew up overcoming unforeseen difficulties.

“Each of us took our own path to be in these seats but we made it. And here I stand before you today as we take our first steps down new divergent paths.

“Congratulations class of 2023. We grew up.”

Valedictorian Ella Huizenga reminded fellow graduates that at the end of their high school years, their earned knowledge should be used to make positive changes in the world.

“As we look back at our years of hard work, sacrifices, and challenges, we can all agree that this moment is a testament to our resilience, determination, and commitment to excellence.

“We have become a community of individuals who have learned from one another, supported one another, and grown together.

“As we move on to the next chapter of our lives, we must remember that the knowledge and skills we have acquired here are not just for our personal growth, but also for the betterment of society. We have a responsibility to use our education and talents to create positive change in the world and to make a lasting impact on the lives of others.

Noting the graduates would be facing new challenges, “I am confident that with the education and experiences we have gained here, we are equipped to tackle them,” Lester said. “We must embrace the opportunities that come our way with open minds, hearts, and a willingness to learn and grow. By doing this we will be able to grow into our best and most successful selves.”

Congratulating her classmates, and expressing her class’s gratitude to faculty, staff, parents, and all who have supported them in their journey, Lester concluded, “Let us continue to work hard and dream big to make a positive difference in the world.”

With presentation of the class for graduation by SFTHS Assistant Principal Regan Erickson, and acceptance of the class by SFTHS Principal Patrick Graham, members of the USD 434 Board of Education presented diplomas to the Santa Fe Trail High School graduating class of 2023: Kenneth Shane Abernathy, Ajah Marie Banks, Blake Joseph Lee Baum, Theron Carl Berckefeldt, Cody Ray Black, Max Allen Blacks, Luke D’artagnan Busby, Jessica Mae Cambron, Warick Roman Dante Cason, Caroline America Chiddix, Lauren Renee Coffman, Matthew Joseph Coltrane, Oscar Costlow, Sammy Elisabeth Daniels, Justin Cordate Davis, Sierra Leigh Dempsey, Dylan Mark Gaines, Linda Galfione, Brodie Michael Gleason, Johnathan Michael Greene, Jessica Lynn Hamm, Chayt Holt Hathaway, Savana Marie Hook, Ella Marie Huizenga, Mackenzie Marie Jeanneret, Preston Robert Koger, Loren Alexis Leighty, Aulysha Jane Lester, Alyssia Marie Ruth Llamas, Lyle Medford Grey Logsdon, Caleb Austin Maslak, Colyn Michael Mattocks, Abigail Kay McNary, Lilliana Pearl McNary, Eyerlynd Reighlye Marie Mettlen, Mya Elizabeth Moran, Trent Alan Nix, Owen David Ortiz, Eli Joseph Pierce, Dylan Dean Piper, Elisa Marie Antonia Raymond, Isabella Antonia Richmond, Clason Lee Rosine, Nathan James Shannon, Andrew James Shepard, Alonna Shay Simons, Rachel Danielle Simpson, Kemper Patrick Spoonemore, Zachery Hub Tantaros, Jake Thompson, Aidan James Omar Torneden, Olivia Erin Truelson, Harlee Mae Urban, Kendalan MianYi VanCamp, Dakota Phillip Tristan Vaughn, Connor Scott Walker, Kilee JoAnn Waters, Austin James Weekley, Sydnee Christine Whitaker, Alyssa Iva Rose Winsler, Leonato Alexander-Zwilling.

The USD 434 BOE includes Tanner Black, Stephenie Ganger, Kylie Hastings, Justin Ramsdell, Michelle Schmale, Madison Sowers, and Jason Supple.

Senior class Sponsors were Tosha Smith and Mrs. Melissa Strother. Serving as junior ushers were Whitney Herren, Kaelee Washington, Noah Burgoon and Chayse Jeanneret.

School administration includes SFTHS Principal Patrick Graham, Assistant Principal Regan Erickson, and USD 434 Superintendent Jim Lentz.

Santa Fe Trail High School class of 2023 scholarship recipients include:

  • Alfred D. Herlait Golf Scholarships – Cody Black, Mackenzie Jeanneret
  • The American Legion Anderson-Raible Scholarships – Matthew Coltrane
  • Barbra Ferrill Memorial Scholarship – Matthew Coltrane, Clason Rosine
  • Carbondale Lions Scholarship – Max Black, Caroline Chiddix
  • The Dr. James L. Ruble Jr., Kansas State Bank Scholarships – Preston Koger, Alyssia Llamas
  • Robert and Debby Aldrine Scholarship – Caroline Chiddix, Kendalan VanCamp
  • First Security Bank of Overbrook – Preston Koger
  • Getting Up From The Fall Scholarship – Ajah Banks, Cody Black, Caroline Chiddix
  • Kale Cauthon Memorial Scholarship – Cody Black
  • Larry Raby Memorial Scholarship – Kilee Waters
  • Lynch Memorial Scholarships – Ajah Banks, Jake Thompson
  • Overbrook Fidelis Club Scholarship – Mackenzie Jeanneret
  • Scranton Lions Club Scholarships – Mackenzie Jeanneret, Aulyslia Lester
  • SFT Educational Association Scholarship – Caroline Chiddix
  • Student Council Scholarships – Ajah Banks, Cody Black, Max Black, Caroline Chiddix, Ella Huizenga, Alyssia Llamas, Rachel Simpson
  • Sons of American Legion Scholarship – Olivia Truelson
  • National Honor Society Scholarship – Max Black, Caroline Chiddix

SFT Foundation Scholarships

  • Morris & Flossie Krouse-Waller – Cody Black, Max Black
  • Sarah (King) Graham Memorial Scholarship – Alyssia Llamas
  • Overbook Family Dentistry Scholarship – Mackenzie Jeanneret
  • The SFT Band Booster Scholarship – Max Black, Olivia Truelson
  • Dean Tucker Family Scholarships – Ajah Banks, Caroline Chiddix, Ella Huizenga
  • Leslie Wurdeman-Riner Scholarship – Aulysha Lester, Kendalan VanCamp

Overbrook Rotary Outstanding Boy and Girl nominees: Ajah Banks, Caroline Chiddix, Ella Huizenga, Cody Black, Max Black, Austin Weekley.

Seniors completing more than 80 community service hours: Max Black, 82.75; Caroline Chiddix, 141; Mackenzie Jeanneret, 121; Jake Thompson, 400.

Santa Fe Trail High School class of 2023. Courtesy photo. Click to enlarge.

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