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“Like a family.”
This is how teachers, administration, younger students and current seniors describe the Elizabeth High School class of 2018. They are a group that shirks stereotypes and cliques, and as numerous peers have said, their last four years will leave a legacy. At 10 a.m. May 26, 132 seniors will commemorate their hard work before moving on to their next phase.
Principal Bret Mclendon said the seniors acted like true leaders this year.
“This is a class with a lot of potential. There’s a lot of talent that is present in this class, whether academic or artistic or athletic. There’s a lot of potential for great things as long as they put in the effort to achieve it,” McClendon said.
Peyton Baldwin, along with many of her classmates, said that cliques are hard to find in her class, and their time outdoors only brings them closer together.
“Our class likes to have fun. Go outside and hike,” Peyton said. “It’s a misconception that our generation sits inside and plays video games.”
Isa Tebrugge, currently a junior and elected student body president next year, said the class of 2018 motivated and inspired her.
“They showed us how to be involved,” she said while serving in one of the two head positions of the Big Help volunteer Day.
The other student who served in a head position for Big Help, fellow junior Lexye Wood, returned to school after a hard day of manual labor to find seniors playing an impromptu game of baseball on the high school’s front lawn instead taking advantage of an early dismissal.
As Lexye watched the students running bases, she said, “They do get involved really really well. They do work hard.”
Although total scholarship funding has not yet been gathered, many students without scholarships have decided to opt out of the traditional four-year university to avoid debt.
“My parents want me to go to college. I want to go to college but it’s really expensive.” said Sebastian Barringer, who graduates this month. “I feel like it’s been getting pretty hard for high-schoolers to go to college.”
Barringer dreams of owning a nice car and big house, but feels he can reach his goals without the college degree. He currently runs computer security for his family’s refuse container business, Little Dumpsters, and wants to pursue computer engineering without the traditional higher education.
Others, such as senior Catie Walters, plan to curb tuition costs by attending a community college.
The class of 2018 started clubs and programs, excelled in sports and education, and formed what many students call a family.
One senior, Andrew Townsend, rekindled the Young Republicans club that recently ventured to Washington, D.C.
Audio-visual teacher Dan Marcus calls his EZTV seniors the “founding fathers” of the now credited program. Three years ago, current senior Alex Burns rallied 25 friends and asked Marcus to lead a Saturday morning audio-visual club.
“A new department would not have existed if not for their groundbreaking work,” Marcus said. “Kids came in to help build the studio. This was a situation where they came, and then we built it.”
The group then went through the process of creating formal classes, growing from an initial 28 students to 60 students pre-registered for 2019.
“They’re definitely go-getters. They’re very creative and energetic and they like to think out of the box,” Marcus said. “When the motivation comes from within and it’s something they’re passionate about, that’s what drives them.”
Marcus, who retires alongside the senior class, said, “To see them graduate in a couple of weeks is going to be emotional for me. These kids really have left a legacy.”
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