Archive for Monday, May 26, 2008

Firebirds ready to soar out of high school

Graduates proud to have principal in class of 2008

Free State High School seniors gather arm-in-arm for the last time to sing their alma mater on Sunday during the school's 2008 commencement ceremony at Allen Fieldhouse.

Free State High School seniors gather arm-in-arm for the last time to sing their alma mater on Sunday during the school's 2008 commencement ceremony at Allen Fieldhouse.

May 26, 2008


High school officially over for class of 2008

High school is officially over today for the class of 2008 as both Lawrence and Free State High celebrate graduation. Enlarge video

High School Graduation 2008

Check out photos, videos and databases of the Lawrence area high school class of 2008.

Their list of Free State High School accomplishments is long, but members of the class of 2008 say it's the journey they enjoyed the most.

"We were budding when we walked in, and we are blooming as we walk out," said Mariya Javed during an address to fellow graduates Sunday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

Friends and family members cheered throughout the 90-minute commencement ceremony even as temperatures inside hovered above 80 degrees.

The 372 graduates who participated wanted to focus on the future as they joyously accepted their diplomas, took in words of wisdom and celebrated with fellow classmates.

Graduation day also brings new challenges.

"I'm scared, but I'm really excited to meet new people and do new things," said Kayley Lane, who will attend Kansas University.

"I'm thinking: How the heck am I going to pay for college?" said Pat Brown, who plans to attend Johnson County Community College to study computer technology.

Reflecting on their three years at Free State, graduates said they were most proud of balancing academic and athletic achievements with having a close-knit senior class.

"It seems like everyone's having fun most of the time," said graduate Brittanie Williams.

A mother-daughter tandem - in separate speeches - also encouraged the graduates to continue their success in the future.

"The good deeds we do will always be more gratifying than the gifts you receive," said graduate Erin Robinson, one of 28 valedictorians.

Her mother, school board President Linda Robinson, told the graduates to rely on what they have learned as they move forward.

"You will have meaningful causes with which to invest your energies and talents," she said in a speech she also delivered at the Lawrence High School graduation later in the day.

The graduates also celebrated the careers of two Free State educators.

Students selected English teacher Phyllis Copt as teacher of the year. Copt is retiring after more than 25 years with Lawrence public schools.

Also, the school's only principal, Joe Snyder, is retiring after leading the school since 1996 - one year before it officially opened.

Snyder kept the focus mainly on the students, but he said was proud the high school now has 3,500 alumni.

"(The graduates) embody our hopes for the future of Free State, the Lawrence community and myself because they've done great things and appear ready to move forward," Snyder said.

Students said it was significant that the first principal was "graduating" with them.

"The 11th class of Free State - Dr. Snyder is a member in that class," said Andrew Boyd, who will attend Pittsburg State University.


Gareth Skarka 9 years, 5 months ago

Linda Robinsons speech was the most pathetic, terrible, tone-deaf thing I'd ever heard -- and every parent I spoke to felt the same way.Not only did she actually say that the "most important decision" facing these graduates was FINDING A MATE (No, I'm not kidding, I wish I was), but her "let me talk to you for a minute" speech lasted FIFTEEN over-long, rambling minutes in 90-degree heat. We weren't there to listen to you, Mrs. Robinson. By 2/3rds of the way through the speech, Parents and Grandparents were starting to give her "wrap it up" cat-calls and prompting applause. She was oblivious.Yes, USD 497 -- way to show the way. Tell a class of award-winning record-setting graduates that they're top priority is to go and get their "MRS degree" -- and why not? It's obvious that's what Sorority-girl Married-a-Doctor Mrs. Robinson did.

motherof4 9 years, 5 months ago

Mrs. Robinsons speech was WAY too long and where we were sitting we could not hear a thing so it made it even longer. It was just too hot for long winded speeches and should have kepts very short! I won't be voting for Linda Robinson that's for sure!

youngjayhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

She gave the same speech at the LHS graduation and was met with the same response from the crowd. She just didn't get it! Administration should have instructed her to keep it brief.

smellycat 9 years, 5 months ago

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