Diplomas presented to 38 graduates at Lyndon High School

“No matter what path we have decided to take as individuals, we all have bright futures ahead of us,” Lyndon High School valedictorian Brenna Herdman advised her fellow graduating seniors Sunday afternoon at the school gymnasium.

Congregating as the LHS Class of 2014 one more time, the graduates all had bright futures on their minds as they filed into the gymnasium and the Lyndon High School band played the processional. The crowd of well wishers was welcomed to the LHS 2014 graduation by senior class president Garrett Fitch. Fitch then presented the class key to Flint Spencer, junior class president.

Lyndon High School Principal Brad Marcotte introduced guest speaker Tonya Newkirk. Valedictorian and salutatorian speeches followed.

Herdman was one of two valedictorians recognized among LHS’s 38 graduates; Mataia Gales was also named as valedictorian. Brittany Burgess was named as salutatorian. (See speeches below.)

Marcotte presented the class for graduation to the USD 421 Board of Education; board members presented diplomas to the following graduates: Nicole Diane Baker, Gaige Levi Brecheisen+, Haley Jean Dawn Buckalew+*, Brittany Danielle Burgess+*#, James Keith Burkett, Mason Douglas Burns+, Valerie Jo Christiason, Dylan Ray Cox, Michaela Lynn Crawford, Madison Scout Culley+#, Brandon Richard Troy Dail, Alexander Curtis Davis, Dylan Keith Dow, Jessica Dawn Dunn, Amanda Dean Feeback, Claire Cecilia Feltner+, Garrett James Fitch, Grace Elizabeth Foiles+*#, Jonathon Tyler Frye, Mataia Connie Gales+*#, Brenna Kay Herdman+*#, Morgan Leigh Hester, Breann Courtney Hill, Brilee Claire Horn#, Bailey Elizabeth Morgan+, Dilan Kirby Lee Nichols, Kyle Jay Nicholson, Joshua Robert Owens+, Jordan Quin Phillips+#, Thore Pieper, Jenna Lee Pollard, Caitlyn Paige Ramsey#, Cale Andrew Spencer+*, Stephen Michael Spinks+, Joseph Dalton Walsh+, Phillip Dorsey Wendling+, Justin Paul Otto Willard, and Cameron Ross Woodruff.

(+ Kansas Scholars Curriculum completed; *Honor Student – Scholars Curriculum and 3.75 G.P.A.; # National Honor Society Member.)

Also during the ceremony, KSHSAA citizenship awards were presented to Gaige Brecheisen and Madison Culley.

Academic awards and scholarships presented to LHS seniors May 9 included:

  • Behrens Scholarship – Brenna Herdman, Mataia Gales, Grace Foiles, Madi Culley, Brittany Burgess, Bailey Morgan.
  • Lyndon Alumni – Grace Foiles, Josh Owens, Gaige Brecheisen, Joe Walsh, Brilee Horn, Claire Feltner, Madi Culley, Mason Burns.
  • Endowment – Brenna Herdman, Brittany Burgess, Mataia Gales, Grace Foiles.
  • Lyndon Community Business Women – Breann Hill, Brilee Horn, Madi Culley.
  • Teri Morris Memorial – Bailey Morgan.
  • Elsie Stout Memorial – Claire Feltner.
  • Neal Fenwick Memorial – Josh Owens.
  • Kansas State Math and Science Award – Cale Spencer.

USD 421 Board of Education members include Robert Knoernschild, president, Lisa Baker, David Brecheisen, Lynda Farwell, Melissa Herdman and Lori Sturdy. Brian Spencer is USD 421 superintendent.


Valedictorian address by Brenna Herdman

Today our journey at Lyndon High School comes to an end, but as we close this great chapter in our lives we will begin another that will be just as great. Amongst us today are future nurses, engineers, members of the military, teachers and business people. No matter what path we have decided to take as individuals, we all have bright futures ahead of us.

The next part of our life journey is kind of like an open road. There are many signs and different paths we could potentially take, and as individuals we need to make sure we see these signs and understand their meanings.

Along this open road there will be stop signs. These stop signs will tell us to stop and look both ways and to be sure to evaluate the situation fully before we start again. Stop signs can be major road blocks that put our plans on hold for a while, or they can just be a quick stop that makes us think a little bit about what we are doing.

Next, there will be caution signs telling us to slow down and be aware of what kind of situation we are getting ourselves in to. Caution signs remind us that we need to slow down and take life one step at a time. Maybe if we follow the advice of a caution sign we will make the right career choice in our future.

Destination signs show us how close or far away we are from our goals, and what we need to do to get there. Destination signs tend to help keep us on track and help us reach our goals the quickest way possible.

The last sign I want to mention are speed limit signs. Speed limit signs help us to keep our place in life, and remind us not to try to do too much at once. We are only human and it is impossible for us to do everything perfectly. Speed limit signs help us keep that in perspective.

Now we need to talk about different things that happen on the open road. Merging can represent coming together with other people. It can represent making new friends and building relationships with the new people that are about to come into our lives. And then there exit ramps.

Exit ramps are how you get yourself out of a bad situation, or back onto the path that  will get you to your destination. Exit ramps can also be seen as closing one door so another door can be opened in order to reach your destination quicker.

And finally there will be wrecks. There will always be accidents on the road. These accidents will throw us off from our goals, but we can’t let one accident keep us off of the road to our destinations.

Now, as we go through life there will be different ways that we can reach our goals. We can either take the highway that will help us reach your goals as quickly as possible, but it can speed our lives up. Or we can choose to take back roads. Back roads help slow things down when life gets crazy. It’s kind of like a detour on the way to our goals, but for the most part it’s good to slow life down sometimes and not take a second for granted.

Before we all continue on our separate roads, we need to remember to thank everyone who has gotten us this far. We need to thank our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers, administration, members of the school board, and our community. As individuals, we also need to remember that the decisions we make now are what shapes our futures. We can make our futures whatever we want them to be. As William Shakespeare once said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

As we close the door on our high school careers, I would like to wish all of you the best of luck and continued success in the future.


Valedictorian address by Mataia Gales

Classmates, Today we have reminisced about our past and we will be given advice about our future, but I want to remind us all to live in the now. Remember – take in every event of today and of everyday. Don’t take one moment for granted. Soak up this moment, you only graduate once, slow down and look around you. Be sure to tell your friends, family and loved ones thank you and that you love them.

We all know we would not be who we are today if not for our great accomplishments and amazing experiences. Life is short and living in the moment is the greatest gift you can give yourself. You may have heard or read this quote by Marc Levy but I want to share it with you:

“If you want to know the value of a year, ask a student who failed a course.

If you want to know the value of a month, ask a mother who just gave birth to a premature baby.

If you want to know the value of an hour, ask the two lovers waiting to meet.

If you want to know the value of a minute, ask the person who just missed the bus.

If you want to know the value of a second, ask the person who just escaped death in a car accident.

And if you want to know the value of a hundredth of a second, ask the athlete who won a silver medal in the Olympics.”

I want you all to remember to value all of our time we have had with our class. We are a close class and we always will be. These past four years made some of the best memories of our lives, and now the next four will only add to them As we go on into our future lives, value every little thing. Listen, not just with your ears but with your eyes and your heart. Stop and breathe in the moment you are in. Put down your phones, iPads and laptops, and enjoy the people around you and in your life while you can.

I want to close with the verse Matthew 6:34, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Congratulations class, we did it. Good luck to you all with your future.


Salutatorian address by Brittany Burgess

Our journey as a class began 13 years ago in Mrs. Dawson’s kindergarten classroom. Whether you were in the morning or afternoon class, everyone can agree that the best part of kindergarten was the rice table … until we got it taken away. This was to be the first of many things that we got taken away throughout our educational career. By the end of elementary school, we were not allowed to have footballs, basketballs, or kickballs. With our lack of equipment, we had to resort to playing tag. Very quickly, tag turned into tackling and that was taken away, too.

Recess was not the only problem for our young class. I don’t want to say that field trips were a nightmare … but field trips were kind of a nightmare. One that particularly sticks out would be our sixth-grade field trip to the Cosmosphere. Our class redefined the word rowdy. We were so loud and obnoxious. Looking back on it I can only imagine how embarrassing that was for our teachers. Our class took very few field trips after that incident.

Yes, we were an ornery class in elementary school, but we did have some very memorable times when we weren’t actually getting into trouble! Some that come to mind would be when Phillip broke his arm the day of the first-grade circus, learning to play chess in Mr. Baldwin’s class, playing Austin Tag at recess, and walking on the ceiling in Mrs. White’s class, just to name a few.

Though we got off to a rocky start, I feel like the past few years we really turned it around and became a great class. In our high school careers, we’ve all made tremendous improvements in everything that we do. Our sports teams have continued to get better and our athletes have reached countless goals. Academically, we’ve made great achievements that will help us build even greater futures. Look at how many of us have these red and gold cords on. This is thanks to not only our own hard work and dedication, but also, our parents and teachers. Without them, we would not be standing here today. They are the ones who pushed us and believed in us, even when we didn’t believe in ourselves. Today is our day, but it is also a day to thank everyone who helped us along the way and made us into successful students.

Not only have we had great successes, but we have become so much closer over the past few years. When I was interviewing for a scholarship a few weeks ago, I was one of the last applicants to be questioned. The very last question that I was asked was, “What is your favorite high school memory?” It’s a question that I’ve been asked more times than I can count, and I always have a hard time answering it, so I was just honest with them. I told them that if I had to pick out a specific memory, I would pick out decorating for prom last year because we all worked so hard together, but honestly anything that I was able to do with my class was my favorite because they made everything fun. The interviewer told me that every applicant said that same thing about how much fun everything was that we did together and how close we are. She said that we must have a really special class. I would have to agree with her.

As our time here at Lyndon draws to an end, we will remember the good times that we all had together and cherish them as we start the next chapter in our lives. I want to thank you all for all the amazing memories. I’m proud to say that I’m a part of the class of 2014.


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