A "unique and special" group of graduates from Olathe High School celebrated their achievements with family members, school staff and the community Sunday, May 19, at Wilson Field. OHS counselor Terri Pacheco said the grads comprised the highest-scoring ACT class in Olathe history. And with seven valedictorians, it was clear the Class of 2013 had much to celebrate in the way of academic success.
Haley Turley, Bethany Hines, Fallon Flick, Kendall Franks, Katlynn Gibson, Melisa Alcaraz and Kayla Pacheco all earned GPAs of 4.2 or higher. They based their speech on one of their favorite songs, "Love Like Crazy," weaving their personal thoughts into the lyrics: "Be a friend; tell the truth; and overuse 'I love you.'
"Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense, never let your praying knees get lazy and love like crazy."
Salutatorian Jeananne Mosher talked about choices, including the one she made as a homeschool student to enter Olathe High School as a freshman. She challenged her classmates to make wise decisions, make a positive contribution and "let your light so shine."
The commencement speaker was Harvey Starbuck, a teacher and coach for 37 years, including 31 in Olathe. He told the grads he was one "in a long line of people willing to give you free advice."
He reminded the graduates their education has "notbeen a solo mission," but one supported by parents, teachers and the community at large.
His message revolved around three rules posted on his classroom wall: Do what's right. Do your best at everything you do. Treat each other with respect and dignity.
The tradition of recognizing distinguished alumni was carried on by B.J. Brown and Marilyn Cox, who early in the ceremony recognized six awardees — Brent Young, Dick Sullivan, Janice Andrews and Mel and Rich Smith and Jean Smith Thweatt, the children of Tom and Isabel Smith.
Mel, Rich and Jean received their bachelor's degrees in educationfrom Fort Lewis College. Regardless of where their careers have taken them — to Fountain-Fort Carson, Florence, Colorado Springs, Durango or Denver — they have fondly remembered their Pea Green roots. Mel died of cancer in 2010; his award was accepted by a nephew, Jared Smith.
Brent Young, a 1978 Olathe High School graduate, taught vocational agriculture at the high school level, lectured at Mesa State College and ultimately received his doctorate from Oklahoma State University. He now teaches at North Dakota State University. Dick Sullivan, a 1949 graduate, is a retired research scientist who has travelled extensively. Janice Andrews dedicated her life to teaching from 1941 to 1976. Her children are also educators, as was her father.
The ceremonies concluded with the presentation of diplomas. Counselor Terri Pacheco announced each student's plans and read an impressive list of scholarships and awards as family members cheered the graduates' accomplishments, and perhaps wiped away a tear or two.blog comments powered by Disqus