Lawrence High graduation: Voracious student of history prepares for school in Scotland

Lawrence High School graduating senior Kennedy Dold soon will leave the comforts of her parents' farmhouse to study archaeology and history at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland next fall.

Have you ever heard of a high school freshman mummifying some store-bought chicken? Neither had one of the best archaeology schools in the world.

When the time comes for high school students to write their college essays, many wonder how they can stand out. Kennedy Dold, a soon-to-be graduate of Lawrence High School, and her parents described the time she rounded up some peat to give the old “bog body” style of mummification a try.

“Yeah, I was kind of an ambitious child,” Dold said, with a hint of sheepishness.

Dold is among the seniors who will graduate Tuesday evening from LHS. Free State High School seniors will graduate Wednesday evening.

Lawrence High School graduation:

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Lawrence High School football stadium, 1901 Louisiana St.

Coming Saturday

A profile of a notable Free State High School graduate

Dold’s family and teachers have plenty of similar stories to tell. In middle school, she wrote a 300-page novel — “Amelia & Heroes of Old,” about Greek mythology. And there was the time that her fellow ancient worlds-loving Latin teacher, Jason Lichte, learned she subscribes to an archeological magazine that he doesn’t even read.

It’s that “sheer grit” — as Lichte would put it — and unquenchable thirst for knowledge that scored Dold a spot at one of the world’s best schools for archaeology, the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, next year.

“I really love medieval history, so I think being in a town with a castle in it is sort of a medievalist’s dream,” she says.

Dold grew up in the countryside near Lawrence with her mom, Jean Younger, who works for a Topeka consulting firm; her father, Scott Dold, a brigadier general in the Kansas National Guard; and her sister, Crosby, a rising junior at LHS who’s eying up a career in musical theater.

Dold traces her history thrill back to childhood when her dad would read to her. There were the standard picture books and fairy tales, Dold said, but there were also history books.

“They said ‘Read to your kids,'” Scott said, with a smile and a shrug.

But Dold’s parents also say there’s a nature about her — an “old spirit” — that pushes her more than anything. They have all sorts of examples. She steals her mother’s vintage clothes and has mostly been better at relating with teachers and older people than with her peers.

Everything that came with the “old soul” characteristic made for a light social life as she grew up, Dold said. She has plenty of great friends nowadays, but there were times when she would spend nights at home “because I didn’t really know anybody.”

Soon she’ll have to part ways with those friends. But she doesn’t worry about finding friends at school, where budding archeologists will surround her. Anyone who’s ever tried making a bog body will probably fit in fine there.

“Early on in high school, everybody tries to be different by being the same, and the ones that are really individuals are kind of left to the side,” Scott said. “And then as you get closer to the end of high school and then definitely to college, individuality becomes the thing you need to be.”