Seniors say farewell to BLHS
The time spent together as classmates has now passed and the future, which knows no bounds, now beckons the 2002 graduating class of Basehor-Linwood High School.
That seemed to be the theme spoken by three BLHS senior speakers during graduation ceremonies in the school's gymnasium Thursday, May 16.
BLHS seniors and four students from the Basehor-Linwood Virtual Charter School donned caps and gowns and received their diplomas Thursday night as a capacity crowd of approximately 2,500 friends and family looked on.
There were 120 students that graduated.
"Today we get to step out this door and show the world what we can do," said Jake Hills, one of two BLHS valedictorians, during the ceremony.
"No one in life can tell you you're not successful but you. You are your own destiny," he added.
Typically there is only one valedictorian in the graduating class, however this year Hills and Michael Collins tied for the best overall grade point average with a 4.0, therefore both gave a speech during graduation.
Collins, like Hills, said he would remember his time spent at BLHS and urged his classmates not to forget where they came from as they move forward in life.
"Don't forget where you came from because it can shape where you go," Collins said.
He also urged his classmates to not be afraid of making their mark in life.
"The brave may not live long, but (those who are afraid) can not live at all," he said.
A third senior, class president Jessica Kelley, preceded the two valedictorians in delivering a speech, and said the four years at the high school passed by quickly.
"It seems not too long ago we entered this building as freshmen," she said. "Just as it seems we have become comfortable with our surroundings, it's time to leave."
Later in the ceremony, Kelley was recognized as the recipient of the Faye Carney Gehl Scholarship, worth approximately $10,000.
The scholarship is named in honor of Gehl, a 1961 graduate of Basehor High School and was awarded to Kelley by Gehl's daughter, Susan Jo.
Kelley plans to attend the University of Kansas in the fall.
Overall, 25 graduating seniors received scholarships this year, some from area colleges and others from local businesses or organizations.
"I think that's a great demonstration of community support," BLHS Principal Bill Hatfield said during graduation.
All totaled, more than $111,000 in scholarships was awarded to graduating seniors Thursday night.
Male and female athletes of the year were also announced during the ceremony, with Matt Dukes and Courtney Reed earning this year's top honors.
Dukes has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Ellsworth Junior College in Iowa. Reed is undecided on where she will play college softball.
But scholarships and individual accolades aside, the evening belonged to each graduating class member as they walked up and received their diplomas, handed to them by BLHS administrators and members of the Basehor-Linwood School Board.
And as BLHS teacher Josh Anderson officially declared the students graduates, the celebration, like the rest of their adult lives began.