• Last modified 691 days ago (June 25, 2020)


Peabody seniors looking toward graduation and beyond

Staff writer

Peabody-Burns will be Marion County’s first school to conduct a graduation, and that has seniors waiting with bated breath to start the next chapter of their lives.

Morgan Gaines is wasting no time planning her future.

Gaines, the school’s salutatorian, already has an idea of where she wants to be in five years, hoping to be approaching graduation in Kansas State University’s veterinary program.

Despite having a keen eye on her expectations, Gaines isn’t selling her previous experiences short for getting her to this point.

“Never give up in rough patches,” she said. “Stay strong and get through this.”

Gaines and valedictorian Aubrey Craig share one of those experiences, having played together over the years on Peabody-Burns’ volleyball team.

Gaines cites her experience as a member of Future Farmers of America and growing up on a farm as helping prepare her for the veterinary field and working with animals.

“I’ve shown since I was 6 years old,” she said. “You have to work with them every day get them into a routine.”

Living on a farm taught Gaines about appreciating where food comes from and not taking things for granted.

That farm-first mentality bled into her FFA tenure, where Gaines served four years as an officer.

That provided an outlet for her to educate others, lead younger members, and work with lamb-judging.

Gaines wants to specialize in working with large animals as she has on her farm, but before she can think about classes at K-State she will be focused on succeeding in Butler Community College’s pre-veterinary program.

One asset in her favor was that Gaines took several college classes to get a head-start.

“It was kind of harder taking college classes and taking more advanced high school classes, but I made it,” she said.

College will be yet another academic connection Gaines and Craig share, as both have plans to attend Butler in the fall. Valedictorians and salutatorians receive free books and tuition when attending Butler.

Similar to Gaines’ history with FFA that stretches back to her middle school days, Craig has a history of 4-H involvement, participating in the club for nine years.

Existing experience is a plus in Craig’s corner as well. She hopes to follow up her associates’ degree with a musical education degree from Emporia State University.

She already has four years’ experience in band and choir and has performed on piano consecutive years at state recitals, earning I ratings both years.

Her musical inclination paid financial dividends, too, as she received a Butler fine arts scholarship earlier this year after a piano performance at the college.

The scholarship would have helped pay for books and tuition, but since Craig had that accounted for as valedictorian, it was changed to a presidential scholarship.

While Peabody-Burns will be the first school to recognize its graduates with an in-person ceremony, it will largely be an exclusive event.

The ceremony will be 2 p.m. Saturday at the high school’s Brown Gymnasium, but admission is allowed only to those invited by students or parents who have tickets. The district will make efforts to follow the county health department’s social distancing guidelines.

The school has 23 graduating seniors, a sizable increase from the 16 students who graduated in 2019.

Peabody-Burns High School graduates

Madelaine Beal, Aubrey Craig, Dena Crick, Mone Fritz, Lindsey Frye, Morgan Gaines, Andrew Hauck, Bastian Herwig, Adriana Newman, Thomas Page, Jack Parks, Jess Philpott, Lexi Schreiber, Taven Scott, Clarissa Stokes, Caleb VanCuren, Summer Watkins, Tanner Wedd, Tristan Wedd, Rocco Weerts, Calvin Becker, Paige Garcia, and Landon Rives.

Last modified June 25, 2020