As summer continues and many newly graduated seniors enjoy a symbolic rest after 13 years of education, we offer a look back at what West County seniors thought and felt as they pondered the graduation ceremony and got ready for their future plans in the fall. to begin.
“West County taught me how to be a leader, how to push myself, and how to never give up,” Kaelin Hedgcorth, a graduate of West County High School, said in mid-May. She plans to attend Saint Louis University and later Logan University to become a chiropractor.
After her graduation, she will miss seeing her best friends and younger sister Alexis at school. “Not many people get all the high school memories we are blessed to be a part of,” she said, adding that she will also miss WCHS secretary Susan Masters who keeps the high school, staff and students informed. the same page every day, “and counselor Andrea Simily, who she said helped her stay on course to get her associate’s degree while in high school.
Hedgcorth said teachers Mercedes Wells and Tina Richards were also her go-tos to give advice or laugh. “They never let me be too hard on myself and they are always there for me when I need it,” she said.
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Senior class curator Keeley Barbee plans to attend Drury University in Springfield on her journey to a law degree. “Everyone says I’m a very good argumentator,” she said, “so I think that would be perfect for me.”
Barbee said Kristie Camp’s American Government class, plus Mineral Area College’s Political Systems online course, helped her make this career decision. She also credited Simily with support, especially during the senior year. Through double credit and double enrollment courses, Barbee was able to obtain an associate’s degree during high school.
“It will take two years off from my seven years of schooling which is extremely beneficial to my future,” she said. “These classes prepared me for university because I now know what to expect and I have learned how to study best.”
As the top graduate of her class with an 11,537 GPA, Barbee said she felt more confident in her accomplishments, and although she tried not to think or worry about the honor of valedictorian, she also had nightmares not to achieve it. During her fall dictatorial speech, she shared her favorite quote from high school basketball coach Tim Notke: “Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.”
As for Salutatorian Claire Stevens, she will be attending the University of Missouri-Columbia and working to become a core pharmacist. She wants to work with radioactive and chemotherapy drugs. Stevens became interested in the field after working at Pharmax Pharmacy in Leadington last year. She also credited WCHS retired teacher Barb Steel for encouraging her to pursue a career in a research area.
“Although she retired last year, Mrs. Steel helped me figure out what I wanted to do and prepare me for all my science classes at university,” Stevens said. “On top of that, she always pushed me to work hard and strive for the best.”
In addition, Stevens acknowledged Wells and Richards who “made school fun” and on whom she could always rely for support at any time. “Without these teachers, I do not think I could have been so successful in high school,” she said.
Stevens said she was able to earn her associate degree with Simily’s help and encouragement to stay organized. “I will also miss sports and my coaches,” Stevens said. “I have played several sports since I was a child and it will be very strange not to play one more.”
Chloe Pulliam plans to enter the workforce and later earn a degree in business management. She worked in the high school office during her senior year.
Like Hedgcorth, Canaan Huff will also attend Saint Louis University and participate in the competition and sideline encouragement team. Huff’s goal is to become a pharmacist. She will miss her high school yearbook class with Sandra Coffman, who became like her second mother.
Kylee Medlin plans to attend the University of Missouri-Kansas City to study chemistry and pre-med. She said West County had given her a “dose of the real world and the expectations others may have”.
“I will miss the friendships and memories I had with the underclass and graduate seniors,” Medlin said. “I will miss Mrs. Clifton the most because she has always treated me like family.”
JD Whitter will attend Drury University in Springfield to study business ethics with a minor in marketing and certificate in sports leadership, and to play baseball. He’s going to miss walking through the halls of WCHS, his friends, and seventh-grade gym class. The person who influenced him the most is coach Bob Simily “because he has been my teacher and baseball coach for four years of high school, and we have come close over the years.”
“West County prepared me best by allowing me to advance with university credits through MAC and helped me develop a good work ethic,” he said.
Natalie Lashley will Paul Mitchell The School St. Louis attends to become a beautician and eventually opens her own salon. She said she was going to miss being an office worker and cadet teacher during her senior year.
“West County taught me how to be organized and taught me to push myself,” Lashley said.
Levi Johnson will also attend Saint Louis University where he will study biomedical engineering. His goal is to work with a biotechnology company and “eventually build one of my own.”
Like Stevens, Johnson will also miss sports and all the friendships he has made. In addition, he credited Steel for forcing him to work harder and “was really good at explaining the topics in a way that everyone could understand.”
“West County has helped prepare me for my future by giving me the opportunity to take double credit and double enrollment classes so I can graduate with my associate degree.”
Senior Ella Pratt plans to attend Maryville University to study speech pathology. She will also be joining the school’s STUNT team, saying one of her favorite WCHS memories was cheering at the annual Thanksgiving basketball tournament.
“The crowd section was always so energetic and it was a great time to be on the floor and encourage our boys,” she said.
Pratt credited Masters with “the biggest heart that all the students treat like her own children” and Richards and Wells for supporting her.
Claire LaBruyere will attend Central Methodist University to obtain a marketing degree and then a master’s degree from Mizzou. She was recently appointed to First State Community Bank. She will miss her friends and Masters, who according to her was her saving grace, school mother and the reason why she liked going to school every day.
Sydney Cash plans to attend Daytona Beach’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to study aeronautical engineering. Her goal is to earn a master’s degree in improving and designing aircraft.
Cash thanked Simily, Richards and Kristin Hart-Williams who “are one of the sweetest people I have ever met and always left a door open for me when I needed it.” She said West County has given her the tools to succeed with anything, even in the face of extreme problems.
“West County has helped me by giving me the skills and confidence to take the next step of my life with my head held high,” Cash said. “I learned so much, not just from my classes, but from all the wonderful people I met and the opportunities I got to experience.”
Ashton Dashner was also a student at UniTec Career Center in Bonne Terre. He will study network systems technology at the State Technical College of Missouri. He credited WCHS teacher Darren Cordray for teaching him one of his favorite hobbies, a magic card game, as well as “the music and instruments he taught me to play.”
Macey Bone will study industrial labor relations at Cornell University in New York. She eventually wants to earn her master’s and doctoral degrees in labor law to become a politician or run a non-profit organization.
“The entire West County staff has been so supportive and encouraging through my time as a student,” she said. “West County is small but powerful! The academic rigor and incredible teaching staff ensured my success as an Ivy League student. The abundance of opportunities and supportive administration and faculty has given each student a space to explore their interests and bring about positive change. ”
Mason Fenwick will attend MAC and then switch to Southeast Missouri State University to major in mathematics and minor in secondary education.
Ciara German, who will also attend MAC, will move to Missouri Baptist University or Central Methodist University to become a financial manager. She will miss teachers Cindy Martin and Angie Black, who both played a major role in helping her prepare for her future.
Leala Pride, who plans to become a teacher, will miss her teachers, especially Coffman and Richards, as well as her friends.
“West County helped me prepare for life after school,” she said. “It taught me to be a leader and that I can achieve any goal.”
Maci Lunsford said West County helped her prepare for her future by offering cadet tuition and business courses. She also hopes to become a teacher.
Ayla Oswald will attend Jefferson College to become a nurse. “All the teachers had very high expectations of us, which helped prepare us for future work and college,” she said.
Kaley Burr will study at MAC and then switch to a four-year university to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. During her senior year, Burr was a cadet teacher for both Cordray and high school teacher Katie Farris. “West County taught me that you can do what you need, but also have fun doing it along the way,” she said.
Pam Clifton is a contributing writer for the Daily Journal