Archive for Thursday, May 24, 2007

Parting on the best of terms

DHS bids goodbye to 107 seniors

May 24, 2007

An alphabetical happenstance made graduation special Saturday for De Soto High class of 2007 member Kaylee Spencer.

"It was exciting, and I got to sit next to Sydney (Tenney)," she said. "She's my BFF."

That's "best friend forever" for those unfamiliar with electronic messaging shorthand. With Tenney one of six graduates chosen to speak at the ceremony with Lauren Burford, Christina Davis, Gabrielle Mullins, Laura Thompson and Sam Wilcox, the two best friends were separated for a short time during the ceremony.

A more distant separation is coming next fall. Tenney is going to MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, and Spencer is going to Emporia State University to pursue a unique career goal.

"I don't know what you study in college to be a dolphin trainer, but I'm going to figure it out," Spencer said.

That is the kind of make-your-own-way spirit De Soto High School life-science teacher Scott Sharp told the graduates they should cultivate. Chosen by seniors to give the keynote speech at the school's 87th graduation, Sharp encouraged the students to keep expanding their horizons.

"You are what you want to be," he told the graduates. "You can accept the way things are or you can work to make them the way they should be. Those choices are yours and yours alone."

In their address, Burford and Thompson teamed up to thank the graduates' parents and teachers.

Tenney further acknowledged the role of the high school's faculty in pointing them in the right direction.

"We have learned by example how to show up for work each day with enthusiasm," she said.

It didn't end with the ceremony. In the post-graduation gathering in the school's commons, DHS instrumental music instructor Justin Love moved about, handing out letters to his students in the crunch of the crowded room.

Collecting his thoughts amongst the crowd, Jordan Smith said it had been a hectic week, which would continue when his family moved back to Iowa this week after a two-year residence in the De Soto district. Next fall, he will enroll at Notre Dame to study business and Spanish.

"It's laid back now," he said. "I'm excited to be done."

To be done was to have a tool to use as they move on, Burford told her fellow graduates. They would take their lumps in the years ahead, she said, but had developed the character to keep moving forward.

On being told they could move their tassels to the left side of their caps, the seniors' celebration was rather low key by De Soto High School standards without as much confetti, canned string or noise makers as recent years.

"It was (subdued)," said graduate Alex Prosser, who was recognized as one the class' top honor scholars with Kathryn Beaver, Kathryn Beck, Christina Davis, Austin DeGraeve, Morgan Frehe, Leslie Hodges and Jordan Smith.

"I was looking around waiting for someone to start. I threw my hat."

Prosser, who is going to Tulsa University next fall to study biology, said the sadness most students felt about graduating probably had something to do with the laid-back response.

The attitude stemmed in part from the 10 a.m. start to the ceremony that was only part of a long day, Jacob Petty said.

"It's kind of bittersweet," he said. 'It's going to be exciting. I'm excited about the parties I'm going to go to. We've got the rest of the day to party."

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