This is the second in a series of profiles of area graduates. On the recommendation of school administrators, one senior from each Kaysinger Conference School and graduates from Sedalia School District 200 will be profiled, sharing their reflections of high school and plans for the future.
TIPTON — Recognizing the importance of an education is a lesson well learned. For many students, that lesson may come later in life, perhaps after graduation.
Tipton senior Jonathan Petree realized that lesson early in life and it has paid off for the young man in multiple ways.
“I think the best advice I can give anyone is that your education is the best investment you can make,” Petree said. “No matter how tough life gets that can’t be taken away for you.
“Do all you can do in the time you have in high school because those four years go by really fast,” he added.
Petree, who graduated May 15, has a bright future ahead of him.
The recipient of a Falcon Scholarship, Petree will spend a year at the Air Force Prep Academy in Marion, Alabama, before heading to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, becoming a member of the class of 2012 there.
“I think I have always tried to be dedicated to serving others,” Petree said. “I want to be the best person I can be and serving others is one way I can do that.”
Petree, who hopes to become a pilot in the Air Force, said throughout high school he has been given many opportunities for leadership experiences that have benefited him on his educational path.
“I know I have been able to do some things that others may never have the chance to do and I am grateful for having those opportunities,” Petree said. “I’m a planner with a big to-do list.
“I like to keep track of things because I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to help out when I can,” he added.
Time management has been an essential part of Petree’s life. A member of FFA, band, DECCA, NHS, FCA and Tipton’s Renaissance Program, Petree also was a member of the varsity basketball, football and golf teams at the school.
“I played football and was in the band all four years of high school,” Petree said. “During my junior and senior years I started both offense and defense on the team.
“It was rather funny because at halftime I would be out there with the band,” he added with a broad smile. “It got a little hectic at times.”
That has been one of the memories Petree said he will take with him as he prepared to leave high school.
He also mentioned the role FFA has played in his success.
“I’ve been on the stage three times at the State FFA Convention,” he said. “I received my State FFA degree and placed first in proficiency twice and second in several other events.
“All of those events and the other organizations I have belonged to have helped me a lot over the years,” he added.
Petree said if he had one regret during his four years at Tipton it was that he at times chose to work over participating in a school event.
“I sometimes regret that I worked instead of doing something,” Petree said. “I will be working for the rest of my life but some of those opportunities I can’t get back.
“I really appreciate the fact that I went to a smaller school because the teachers and everyone knows one another,” he added. “Knowing that I have the support of them and my parents has led me in the right direction because of the advice and examples they have provided.”
Petree said that as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma he would be thinking about all of the individuals who had been a part of his life.
“I will be thinking of my friends and all the people I will miss once I leave,” Petree said. “It will be hard not being together as a class as a whole.
“I won’t forget them,” Petree said thoughtfully. “But it will be a new chapter and I’ll be starting a new network of friends.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484