Grads start new beginning
Sixty-seven Eudora seniors said goodbye on Sunday and headed off into uncharted territory with the passing of graduation 2001.
A video presentation of baby and senior pictures of each senior kicked off the ceremony, while the Eudora High chorale sang in the background. The EHS women's chorale also performed during the video, with Paula Brekken directing and Mary Glasnapp accompanying.
Co-valedictorian Emily Mills spoke to the class, thanking members for support and friendship over the years.
"There is part of me that will always be here," Mills said. "Thank you for four wonderful years of memories that I will carry in my heart forever."
Steven Everley reflected over his lifetime in Eudora schools and said he was thankful for open-minded teachers such as EHS English instructor Jeanette Ewbank-Bryant. The co-valedictorian said he looked back at his younger years with laughter and often asked himself, "Was I that stupid?"
EHS principal Marty Kobza also recognized students who collectively received over $500,000 in scholarships.
"There is a creed that we live by here at Eudora High ... and that is 'leave it better than you found it,'" Kobza said. "I believe the class of 2001 has done that."
Building on this year's class motto, "This is the beginning," EHS teacher Ron Abel encouraged the class to look forward to life's challenges. Abel is a member of the 1979 graduating class and was elected by the seniors to give the commencement speech.
Abel focused on three points for graduates to take with them. The first was that apathy and despair can end careers and lives. He encouraged the grads to keep high spirits in the face of adversity.
"Human beings who have apathy are pathetic," he said. "I say to you that caring about yourself and others can have the greatest impact in the world."
Abel also spoke on persistence. He reminded the class of its freshman year football team that was far from winning in 1997 but came great lengths to become the Frontier League champions in 2000.
"There's no greater feeling than the achievement of a goal after the effort that is put into it," he said.
Finally, Abel encouraged the students to "remember their roots" as each graduate went past high school to find a path in life.
"Eudora may not be where you want to stay, but it is a resource you can always count on," Abel said.
Before the presentation of diplomas, World War II veteran Paul Born accepted an honorary degree. Born received the degree through Operation Recognition, a program sponsored by the Commission on Veterans' Affairs that gives degrees to veterans who were unable to get their degrees before being shipped off to war.
After grads received their diplomas, the ceremony concluded and each headed off to start a new life with a new beginning. In his speech earlier in the ceremony, Abel told the grads to take on the tasks of shaping their own lives and pursuing their dreams.
"I hope for all of you this is the beginning," he said. "It is your beginning, because up until this point, your lives were shaped and molded by others."