When Superintendent Jason Westfall made his opening remarks to the graduating seniors at Kiowa High School's graduation on May 29, he began by honoring service members and veterans before passing on a little advice.
“First, the future belongs …
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“First, the future belongs to the few who are still willing to get their hands dirty,” he said and then lightened the moment with what had to be the groaner of the school year. “When you are stressed out, eat ice cream, chocolate, and sweets. Do you know why? The word `stressed' spelt backward is `desserts.'”
With the stress of exams finished and the challenges of senior year over, the Class of 2016 might want to take Westfall's “semordnilap” seriously, and savor the sweetness of their achievements before taking on the world.
This year's 16 graduating seniors earned around $75,000 in scholarship money, and many plan to continue their education at university, junior college or technical school.
Valedictorian Madison Zielinski plans to attend the University of Northern Colorado to study either social work or special education.
“I like the kids,” she said. “I want to help them find their way out of bad families.”
Zielinski earned a grade point average of 3.978 and was awarded more than $12,000 in scholarships, and Principal Amy Smith praised her accomplishments.
“It's also important that she be acknowledged for her positivity, and her school spirit. National Honor Society, student council, volleyball, basketball and track are just some of the school organizations that she has been a part over the past five years,” Smith said.
Smith concluded her introduction by pointing out that Zielinski's participation in many of these organizations was as a leader.
Salutatorian Coby Lane also had a lot to celebrate. In addition to achieving a 3.876 grade point average and nearly $18,000 in scholarship awards, Lane also completed three associate degrees (an associate degree in science, one in arts and a general associate degree) prior to graduation.
Of the 16 graduating seniors, two have signed contracts to serve in the Marine Corps. Pvt. Sunny Armijo, who ships out to Paris Island in June, said her family has a tradition of military service, and though she is nervous, she is looking forward to the challenge.
Pvt. James Neighbors will ship out to Camp Pendleton on July 18. Neighbors said he plans to enjoy the summer before leaving for Southern California, a short rest before getting his hands in the dirt.
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