ALTAMONT — There were excited smiles and parting tears shed by Labette County High School’s 2019 class as they bid LCHS farewell but eagerly welcomed the start of their bright futures.
LCHS honored 102 students during its commencement ceremony at Harrison Auditorium on Sunday.
Opening the ceremony was LCHS’ Choraleers, directed by instructor Shawna Terrell, to the song “I Married Adventure” by Alex Thomen.
USD 506 Assistant Superintendent Tony Blackwell presented the KSHSAA Citizenship Award to Maggie Billman and Riley Sorrell. The Dale Dennis Excellence in Education award was presented to Cameron Dodsworth.
Soon after, LCHS Principal Shane Holtzman led the ceremony to two students, valedictorian Rebecca Bogner, and salutatorian Payton Smith. Both students plan to attend Pittsburg State University.
“Today is a special day of honoring all their hard work and dedication. It paid off,” Holtzman said. “Today is also Mother’s Day, and I know there are some very proud mothers here with us. We want to see you make a difference in the world.”
“I would like to start by thanking all of you for being here to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2019,” Bogner said. “Without all of you, we wouldn’t have all made it to this point. I especially want to thank the ag teachers, Mr. (Kyle) Zwahlen, Mr. (Dustin) Wiley, and Mr. (Jeff) Falkenstein for everything they do for all the students in the ag department. I know that I would not be where I am at today without them.”
Bogner reflected on her time spent as a freshman who quickly made fast friends.
“I realized that I would not have to worry about those things,” she said with a smile. “Labette County High School welcomed me with open arms, and I made so many new friends, met great teachers and started making memories that I’ll never forget.
“This is the final chapter of our high school experience, but there’s a whole new adventure that’s about to come,” she said. “But I hope that all of us will face that challenge head on and learn and grow from it. I hope that we all are somewhat like freshman me, when I was scared to face a new chapter, but it turned out to be an amazing and crazy adventure. I hope that we’ll all be saying to ourselves, ‘I think I’m gonna be all right. I think I’m going to like this.’”
To cheers and applause, Bogner gave the stage to Superintendent John Wyrick, who accepted the Class of 2019.
“It is a privilege and honor to present the graduating Class of 2019. You symbolize and inspire.
“There’s a saying I’ve been thinking on — ‘What starts here changes the world.’ I have to admit I like that. The average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime. It sounds like a lot. But what if you just changed the lives of 10 people. And those 10 people change the lives of another 10. From there, you could change the lives of just 18 million. One more generation, you can change the entire population. I saw it happen every day, with our great staff and administration.
“To the graduating class, you are moments away from beginning your journey through life. To starting to change the world for the better. It will not be easy. But you are the Class of 2019 that can affect the lives of millions of people,” he said. “It starts here on this very day — May of 2019. I fully believe our district has built a solid foundation that each one of you will continue to use as a student, a citizen, a person. I assure you’ll find obstacles and challenges, but get busy. Don’t want for inspiration or passion; get out and explore, find yourself. Once again, congratulations. You have earned the right to call yourselves Labette County Grizzlies.”