Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Falcons pass test together

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 5/19/2014

POMONA ­— Alexis Yelland reflected Saturday on when she and her classmates came to West Franklin from different schools as sixth graders.

Consolidation of the Pomona and Williamsburg school districts was difficult for some, but after four years as Falcons at West Franklin High School, the class of 2014 threw their caps in the air together Saturday during the school’s graduation ceremony.

POMONA ­— Alexis Yelland reflected Saturday on when she and her classmates came to West Franklin from different schools as sixth graders.

Consolidation of the Pomona and Williamsburg school districts was difficult for some, but after four years as Falcons at West Franklin High School, the class of 2014 threw their caps in the air together Saturday during the school’s graduation ceremony.

“We did it,” Yelland, co-valedictorian, said during her address to the crowd at the school’s gym, 511 W. Franklin St., Pomona. “We did something that’s amazing. We started as little sixth graders from three different schools, all scared and afraid, not knowing that seven years later we’d be able to call each other friends.”

Yelland’s class friends include the 39 seniors who graduated Saturday. This year’s class featured a 100 percent graduation rate, Rick Smith, high school principal said.

“Every one of the seniors that were up for graduation did graduate,” Smith said. “Great group of kids. We have really good kids here at West Franklin. With some of these kids, I’ve actually been their principal since they were in kindergarten, so it is a really special group.”

Yelland shared the valedictorian spot with Emily Reed, both of whom graduated with 4.0 GPAs. Yelland and Jay Hull also were awarded the Kansas state High School Activities Association Citizenship Award during the ceremony.

Before taking a selfie on her phone at the end of her speech with her classmates as the backdrop, Yelland delivered the message to strive for happiness after graduation, noting that life is like a race and, while it is good to set the pace and take breaks, never wait until the end to kick into gear.

“Today, hold your heads high and smile for mom when she asks for one last picture,” Yelland said. “And stand tall ... because you did it.”

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