• Last modified 378 days ago (May 9, 2018)


MHS grad is third-generation valedictorian

Staff writer

When Collin Williams walks across the stage Saturday at Marion High School commencement, he will be the third in his immediate family to graduate as a valedictorian. His grandmother, Darla Schramm, and mother, Jami Mayfield, share the honor with him. An aunt, Stephanie Williams, also was a valedictorian.

Mayfield said Collin plans to major in math at Kansas State University. She thinks he may have gotten his passion for math from her and his father, Stan Williams.

She said they both liked math, and when they went on trips with their three children, Collin being the youngest, they would throw out math problems for them to solve. Collin would say, “Give me times.”

“The thing I love most about Collin is that he is good at everything he does,” Mayfield said. “He has always been motivated. He always wanted to do his best, and he was willing to try everything.”

She cited his brief participation in junior high wrestling and high school football as examples of sports he could not excel in and didn’t pursue.

He competed at state in cross-country two years, track four years, forensics four years, and was the high scorer on his quiz bowl team at state.

He and a classmate won entrepreneurship awards two years running for a business they established, Nothin’ but Nuts.

Collin participated in school plays and excelled as a trumpet player.

“He stayed up late studying every night,” Mayfield said.

Outside of school, he is a youth leader at Marion Christian Church and “still finds time for a girlfriend,” Mayfield said.

Collin achieved a perfect 36 score in ACT and had a 4.0 grade point average all four years. He will receive a four-year $36,000 Putnam Scholarship.

“It’s an honor to have an achievement like this,” Collin said. “I’ve had a lot of family members who supported me.”

His mother, Jami, was the 1983 valedictorian of a class of 30 graduates at Hanover High School in northern Kansas.

She grew up on a dairy farm and milked cows before school and after school.

She said she benefited from attending a two-room parochial school from fifth through eighth grades because she heard lessons for all four grades every year, and older students helped younger students.

She said the school produced many valedictorians and salutatorians at Hanover. In high school, she took tough science and math classes.

“Being valedictorian was an honor,” she said. “It also brought scholarships.”

She graduated from Emporia State University with majors in finance and computer information and a minor in accounting. She has had a career as an accountant, working at a bank, Western Associates, and now at Marion County Special Education Coop as business clerk.

Collin’s grandmother graduated from a small school in Fillmore, Missouri, in 1960. She was valedictorian of a class of 14 students.

She married right out of high school. The school superintendent had asked her to give her valedictorian honor and college scholarship to the salutatorian, who planned to go on to college.

“I will give up the scholarship but not the honor,” she told him.

She went on to establish a home interior decorating business that she operated for many years.

Schramm said she grew up on a farm and learned to work at an early age.

“I think that’s what made me always want to do my best,” she said. “I think I‘ve set an example of that.

“I’m very proud of Collin. He’s a good kid, and I know that he will be successful at whatever he does.”

Last modified May 9, 2018