2003 graduates are building’s last
As the Eudora High School class of 2003 bid farewell to its friends, classmates and high school years, it was also a time, as valedictorian Mary Johnson reminded, when seniors were saying goodbye to a building that would no longer be Eudora High School.
This fall, high school students will enter a new building and a new era in the history of the Eudora schools.
"We're closing the gym, these halls, this school," Johnson said.
Even though the class marked a lot of "lasts" for the building, which will house middle schoolers this fall, the class of 2003 also saw a lot of firsts, too, Johnson said, especially in sports. The class' senior year saw the inaugural year of a co-ed soccer team and watched the football team make it to sub-state play.
Salutatorian Tina Lauber, who began and ended her address with quotes from Dr. Seuss' "Oh, The Places You'll Go," said at first the building seemed intimidating.
"This school seemed so huge compared to the middle school," she said. "Now, it's comfortable to walk down these halls."
Yet when graduation speaker and head secretary Bonnie Neis graduated from Eudora in 1976, she walked the halls of a building that no longer exists -- the 1918 building that sat on the corner of 10th and Main streets.
Principal Dale Sample explained the class was headed down many different "hallways" of its own after graduation, ranging from traditional university education to vocational training; from the workforce to parenting.
Neis' message to the graduates was not to compare their successes or failures with one another but rather to evaluate their experiences on their own terms.
When she graduated, Neis' long-term plans included becoming a physician, but she said she didn't regret life's detours, which began when she met her husband of 25 years.
"It wasn't a roadblock," she said. "It was a detour."
Rather than dwelling on what might have been, Neis said she saw her job managing the day-to-day tasks of the high school, where she's been a secretary for 15 years, as a blessing.
"I feel like this is a position God landed in my lap and said, 'Go with it,'" she said.