Archive for Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hat’s off to LHS grads

Seniors recall experience of growing up in Lansing

May 24, 2007

No, the Lansing High School seniors who wore necklaces made of Froot Loops cereal Saturday morning at Frank Graham Field hadn't forgotten to eat breakfast before coming to their graduation ceremony.

The necklaces, senior class president Riann Deere explained in her speech, were being worn by all of the seniors who spent their entire childhood attending school in the Lansing School District.

For Deere, who will play college volleyball in the fall at Neosho County Community College, growing up in Lansing helped shape who she is today. Graduation was simply a reminder of that.

"Walking up the sidewalk to Lansing Elementary was the first of many steps for me," she said.

Eight other seniors - Jessica Bradford, Samantha Clark, Kalon Thrasher, Kyle Buehler, Elizabeth Cristiano, Abby Hauver, Derek Pickett and Natalie Hall - took turns speaking to the overflow crowd before the 165 seniors received their diplomas and departed for an afternoon filled with graduation parties.

Some speeches took a humorous tone:

¢ Buehler noted that what his speech "lacks in content, it makes up for in not making you sit out here all day."

¢ Thrasher, wearing giant sunglasses and a cap with an extended mortarboard, said, "If high school has taught us anything, it's how to have fun."

Other speeches went the sentimental route:

¢ Clark recalled her time spent with Lansing Leadership, saying that the class "has shown me that hard work and dedication can help you reach your goals."

¢ Cristiano, a co-salutatorian, shared six quotes of inspiration. The final of those quotes coming from Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the places you'll go."

Pickett, a Leadership representative, reminded his classmates that although they lost their parking lot when construction began on the school's new auditorium, it was "a reflection of our time of growth."

"Now," Pickett said, "I want to take this time to make some predictions about the growth of the Class of 2007."

In his predictions, Pickett said he saw grand things in his classmates' futures.

Of course, Pickett's classmates have given him plenty of reasons to think that way. The seniors have compiled an extensive list of honors during the past four years:

¢ 89 percent of the seniors plan to attend a four-year college or university in the fall.

¢ 11 seniors had a 30 or higher on the ACT test; five had a 32 or better.

¢ Hall was a National Merit commended student.

¢ A handful of seniors received appointments to military academies.

¢ Buehler won a state championship in wrestling and was honored as the school's Scholar-Athlete by the Kansas City Star.

¢ Three seniors earned ROTC scholarships.

¢ Members of the senior class helped the girls soccer team win the National Soccer Coaches Association/adidas Team Academic Award for the past two years, and senior Bianca Manago was one of 35 girls nationally to make the NSCAA/adidas Girls High School Scholar All-America Team.

¢ More than one third of the members of the class received at least one scholarship.

¢ Many of the seniors participated in this year's Late Night for Leukemia walk-a-thon that raised more than $10,000.

Hall, the class valedictorian, encouraged her fellow seniors to take the time to say "thank you" to everyone who has had an impact on them thus far - or who gave them money for graduation - and to practice gratitude.

When the speeches were over, Deere called each of the seniors to the stage to receive their diplomas from four faculty members selected by the class: math teacher Randy Brown, multimedia teacher Dan Wessel, physical education teacher Melissa Cappel and social studies teacher Claudia Logue.

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