High school graduation was a bittersweet night for one family Thursday, May 23, at Hannibal High School. Twins Travis and Rosemary McDanel arrived with their dad, Mark, who explained their mother, Laura McDanel, died two years ago after a traffic accident.
Mark added that "their mom and I put good heads on their shoulders and taught them right from wrong a long time ago."
Both Travis and Rosemary completed the HHS A-Plus program that provides financial assistance at a community college. They plan to attend Moberly Area Community College (MACC) for two years to complete their "gen eds." After that Travis plans to learn aircraft maintenance and work for a major airline. Rosemary already has a head start toward her goal of getting a doctorate in meteorology. After being trained by the National Weather Service at John Wood Community College, she has been a storm spotter for several years. One of her favorite HHS memories was "doing the unexpected," such as the "parking lot honking wars."
They finished high school with the emotional and spiritual help of numerous people after their mother's death, Mark said. "Our church family at Immanuel Baptist Church were just outstanding. I work out of town a lot and the Immanuel family made suppers for the kids." He also appreciated the school's help, noting "Mr. Sharkey (Principal Ryan Sharkey) and the kids at school did a lot of talking."
Rosemary agreed. "Mr. Sharkey and the school staff have become more family than just staff."
With Sharkey retiring as principal, Mark said, "they are going to lose a very good principal. Whoever takes his place will have large shoes to fill but will wear them well."
The McDanels are not alone in having clear-cut career plans. Alec Voss will go to medical school, starting with Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo. He has a head start - three years of medical terminology at the Hannibal Career & Technical Center. His graduation gown included colorful cords, denoting membership in the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. Voss' favorite HHS memory was the soccer team "beating Helias. We won the district and conference this year."
Other classmates going into the health field include Shelby Martin, whose goal is to become an anesthesiologist. Her favorite HHS memory was "going on tons of trips" in Missouri science class taught by Matt Bueler. Sharing her enjoyment of Missouri science class was Tim Wisdom. His career goal is to "follow my sister and Dad's footsteps and open my own business, an off-road shop."
Miranda Martin plans to become a nurse and will begin her higher education with an art scholarship at Hannibal-LaGrange University. Jasmine Miller also plans to go to school to become a nurse, after taking a year off.
Heather Fantz will attend MACC on the A-Plus program, studying early childhood education to become a preschool teacher. In high school her favorite memories are vocal music performances, such as in "Bye Bye Birdie" with her brother, Taylor Frantz, who also graduated Thursday. Heather added that "leaving (HHS) will be the most challenging part for me."
Page 2 of 2 - Also involved in the arts was Jared Wamsley, whose top memory was winning an art show with his drawing.
Coleton Lake has already been educated for his profession in welding and iron working - two years of welding taught by Bobby Wilson at the Hannibal Career & Technical Center. He already has a summer job with Consolidated Welding. Coleton's top HHS memories are "hanging out with friends and Friday night football games with the band," where he played trumpet.
Michael Duncan, whose favorite high school memory also was "hanging out with my friends," plans to attend ITT Technical college.
As she adjusted Bridgette Brinkley's cap for graduation, Kayla Duncan said her top memories were "getting ready for dances and spending time with friends."
Brinkley recalled the time "all the teachers danced at the first pep assembly we've had in a few years."
The HHS Class of 2013 was pleased that graduation could take place at Porter Stadium as planned, only three days after Monday's windstorm left all of Hannibal in the dark - and portions of the city remained without electricity Thursday.
Although graduation was not relocated, the alcohol-free lock-in party, Project Graduation, was moved from the YMCA of Hannibal to the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center. It was to include a dance, performance of a hypnotist, several inflatable games and rides and food.
See photo gallery for more pictures of the graduates.