KINGMAN – There were handshakes and some embraces Thursday night in the Kingman High School South gymnasium an hour before the KHS Class of 2006 was to graduate on the school’s football field.
Graduates were donning caps and gowns and talking about the future.
“This is the end of this part of the story of our lives,” senior Chris Windle said. “I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next for everyone here.”
Senior Lauren Whitaker expressed a similar thought.
“I’m excited it’s over,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to going to college and will be the first to do so in my family.”
Whitaker is pointing toward a career as a physical therapist. She will attend Yavapai Community College in the fall to begin working toward her associate of science degree.
Windle is New England-bound to attend the University of Maine. He plans dual majors in English and physics, but hasn’t yet decided in what field he will make a career.
Parents, friends and relatives packed the bleachers on both sides of the football field Thursday night to watch 410 seniors receive diplomas. KHS North Principal Pat Mickelson said 480 were eligible to graduate.
It was Mickelson’s fifth graduation as principal and her eighth as an administrator at KHS North.
“Each year the kids are different,” she said. “They have different challenges and accomplishments.
“This is a bittersweet time. We’re losing some great kids, but I’m happy for them as their potential is enormous.”
Senior Seth Gibelyou said he would miss friendships formed with teachers and fellow students.
But he’s ready to move on to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he will study electrical engineering.
Senior Amanda Blake graduated a year ahead of her twin sister, Amber, and will miss her.
“I’ll also miss some friends and my basketball coach (Darrin Peppard),” Blake said. “He also was my biology teacher and influenced me more than any other teacher.”
Blake plans to attend Mohave Community College and complete coursework that will transfer to the University of Arizona, where she will study to become a pediatrician.
Gibelyou said the Class of 2006 has a lot of unique individuals capable of doing whatever they wish in life.
Blake agreed that it’s a strong class with good and interesting people, some of whom she expects to make their marks in government and politics.
Windle, Whitaker and Gibelyou all said they are as prepared as they can be for life after high school. Blake said the only thing that KHS might offer in the future to better prepare graduates is a financial class that will get students ready to be on their own.
Mickelson shared her thoughts on how the class may change the world.
“Many of these students are conscious of service they can render to the global community,” Mickelson said. “We’ve seen accomplishments in that area.
“We have some outstanding scholars that will go the distance to achieve. No doubt some will become doctors, attorneys and journalists. Service for this group was a major interest.”
Mickelson added one other positive note. It appeared two unnamed seniors would not graduate as of about four weeks ago due to not passing all three subtests of Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards test.
Those students were “on the bubble” at the time, but completed all necessary requirements for graduation, she said.