For many seniors, their high school graduation is a time of reflection marking the completion of one stage of a young adult life into the transition of the next.
It is a time for the graduate to surround themselves with classmates, friends and family before taking the next steps into adulthood.
Tonight, as Rebecca White walks across the stage to receive her diploma, her thoughts will be filled with memories of her years in school and the lifelong bonds she has created over the years at Smithton High School.
A large part of her will be thinking of someone who cannot be there in person to see her graduate — her mother.
“My mother passed away six years ago on the 20th in a car accident,” White said. “On Mothers Day our church did something for all the graduates and it was an emotional day for my sisters and my dad too.”
“That has been one of the best parts of high school for me is the fact that I have made some wonderful friends who have always been there to help me,” she added. “They build you up and we have become a giant family who are there for each other.”
Part of those friendships have been formed in the opportunities that have been presented to White at Smithton through both her classes and the numerous extracurricular activities available to the student body.
White is a member of the Drama Club, FBLA, FCCLA, Art Club, Student Council, National Honor Society and the Academic Team. She is also a cheerleader and a member of the girls’ basketball team and a manager for the track and field program.
“All of the clubs and activities I have been in have really helped me to interact with other people,” White said. “Being in front of people doesn’t scare me anymore.
“I realize that if I just get up and do it I can handle the situation,” she added. “I enjoy the leadership and it really has helped me to grow as a person.”
White said one piece of advice she would offer others is to become involved as much as possible for the opportunities those activities can provide, but also because she feels she has developed more life skills as a result of her participation.
“I’ve enrolled at State Fair Community College, but I haven’t decided on a major yet,” White said. “I will get my gen ed’s out of the way and then transfer to a four-year college.
“I want to explore all of my options and choose the best course for me,” she added. “I have my eye on nursing but that could change. I’m told that a person changes their major three times, so I have time to consider things before I finally decide.”
White commented that she feels it is important to complete the classes and credits that are requirements early so others have the opportunity later for electives and dual-credit classes that will help in college.
“I really wouldn’t change anything about high school. OK, maybe lunch,” White said with a smile. “I wish they would serve the things I like more often.
“The people and my teachers and coaches and teammates have meant so much to me,” she added. “I think above everything I have learned to try to accomplish as much as you can while you can. Work hard and be responsible because people do realize and appreciate that in others.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484