Some will be heading off to college. Some will be going straight to work. Others will be taking a year off to volunteer. After four years of walking the same path together, horizons will soon diverge starkly for the 459 graduates of SM East’s class of 2014.
On their last night all together, PVPost spoke with some of the graduates and their families about what their four years at 7500 Mission Road had meant — and where that experience was leading them next.
Jordan Hall, graduate
With all of the graduates packed into the front of the SM North auditorium, one of the members of the SM East faculty encouraged the students to take a moment to recognize what a special moment this was — the last time they would all be together.
Jordan Hall on what high school taught him
Listen to Jordan Hall talk about how he learned to go with the flow.
“It still really hasn’t set in,” said senior Jordan Hall. “It’s like it’s a relief a little bit to have it done. But at the same time it’s sad.”
The moment might be especially poignant for Hall, whose next several months will look much different than many of his classmates. Instead of heading directly to college, Hall is taking a “gap year” to volunteer in India through a program at Portland State University. He leaves for Dehli in September, and will eventually spend time in Calcutta and trekking the Himalayas. The abrupt change in scenery might cause anxiety for many. But Hall seems very collected about what’s next. High school, he says, taught him to keep his cool.
“I think it taught me the importance of adaptability,” “What you plan on happening doesn’t always happen.”
After his gap year, he’ll attend the University of Arkansas.
Tameca Williams, mother of Andre Bowie
Tameca Williams sat surrounded by family in the stands of SM North Thursday, her eyes trained on the field as the graduates lined up to take their places. Her eldest son, Andre Bowie, was about to graduate.
Tameca Williams on what it will feel like to watch her son graduate
Listen to Tameca Williams describe her feelings the night her eldest son was set to graduate from high school.
“It’s been quite an experience. We’ve kind of learned things together,” she said. “I was a young mom, so we kind of experienced everything together. I’m very proud of him to make it to this point.”
The high school experience brought out Bowie’s love of the English language and literature, she said, passions that he will take with him to Central Missouri State University this fall, where he plans on pursuing a degree in art or music.
Bowie had a large cheering section Wednesday, with grandparents, aunts and cousins all waiting to hear his name. But perhaps his biggest fan was his younger brother, Michael Henderson, a fourth grader at Belinder Elementary. And what’s Bowie told his younger about what it’s like to be in high school?
“Just havin’ fun,” Henderson said.
Annie Foster, graduate
Three years ago, Annie Foster watched her brother, a senior when she was a freshman, walk across the stage and receive his diploma.
On Wednesday, she couldn’t believe it was already her turn to follow in his footsteps.
“I never thought it was it would be our day this soon,” she said.
Foster will be heading to Lawrence to attend the University of Kansas this fall. But this summer, she says, she’s planning on relishing her final opportunity to spend a lot of time with her group of high school friends.
“We’re going to spend one last summer together,” she said. “ It was such a fun time. I love East.”
Aguirre family, supporting graduate Alad Aguirre
Agustine Aguirre and 15 of his family members came prepared. When Aguirre’s son Alad walked across the stage, they were going to be ready. Four family members had signs that spelled out the “ALAD.” Many of the others had balloons.
After moving to Mission from the El Paso area, Alad had put his head down and graduated after three years at SM East. He’s attending the University of Missouri – Kansas City next year and intends on becoming a doctor.
CONGRATS TO THE SM EAST CLASS OF 2014!