As the 36 Hannibal High School 2017 midterm graduates donned their caps and gowns in the HHS cafeteria for their Dec. 20 graduation, some said they are already working and plan to continue for awhile before enrolling in college.
Blake Robertson will continue working at the YMCA of Hannibal before deciding on a college or military service. Brendon Garrelts plans to work for a couple of years before going to a technical school, perhaps to learn heating and cooling.
Others are continuing careers already launched, such as taxidermist Ethan Zumwalt, who added, "I may go to college later."
Jeremy Epley will work in his family business, Epley Fisheries, for a few years, then enroll in Full Sail University in Florida to study game development. He is already working on a game and putting together a website.
At least two grads will have military careers. Connor Stoerger has already enlisted in the U.S. Marines, explaining, "I want to serve my country and will get the GI Bill and college paid for after."
Seth Nelson plans to make a career of the U.S. Air Force, where he hopes to become an air rescue specialist.
Jessica Wells wants to work with animals in a kennel. Haley Finch will continue working at Wendy’s, and Chasity Crane will continue at Super 8.
Conner Waddell hopes to do asphalt work for Chester Bross.
Some have chosen a field of study. Alivia Long will attend MACC to become an EMT, then plans to "go to Chicago or somewhere big, where the demands (for an EMT) are high."
Skylar Merchant will go to a technical school in Tulsa to become a diesel mechanic. Harley McAfee will begin college in August 2017.
Kourtney Wagner will seek a degree in special education at Southern Illinois University.
Austin Holman has been a street musician in downtown Hannibal for some time, and he will continue with music, seeking a degree in instrumental music education at Quincy University.
Grads challenged to have patience and persistence
During the ceremonies in the HHS auditorium, Principal Ted Sampson challenged the graduates make a positive contribution. "Be prepared to work hard. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and be willing to help others along the way," Sampson said.
Stressing the importance "of having patience and persistence," Sampson continued, "to achieve your goals and find success, you must be willing to give great effort."
He concluded, "Good luck and may God bless you as you make our world and country a better place for your children and grandchildren."
The HHS Class of 2017 motto is a T.S. Eliot quote: "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
The graduates were Gabryelle Raelynn Baker, Donovan Lee Bowen, McKenzie Raquel Campbell, Austin Michael Carlen, Adam Joseph Couch, Chasity Nicole Crane, David Deland Dean, Emalee Beth Diebel, Jeremy Lee Epley, Haley Nicole Finch, Brendon John Garrelts, Austin G.L. Holman, Alivia Morgan Long,
Victoria Elizibeth Maddox, Katelynn Renee Manzke, Harley Charles McAfee, Skylar Duane Merchant, Shay Lee Messenger, Hatti Rea Mueller, Seth Wayne Nelson, Megan Renee Patrick, Alexis Marie Phelps, James Michael "Bryce" Pryor, Corey Daniel Richardson,
Blake Josiah Robertson, Alissa Lynn Ruhl, Allison Elizabeth Shepherd, Phoenix Nicole Smith, Connor Michael Stoerger, Lakenan Renee Fay Treaster, Conner Dalton Waddell, Kourtney Nichole Wagner, Jessica Lee Wells, Tanner Chase Whittaker, Mackenzie Paige Wilhoit, Destiny Starr Wood and Ethan Allen LeRoy Zumwalt.
Reach reporter Bev Darr at firstname.lastname@example.org.