They took a different path from traditional high schools but the 2023 graduates of the Barton County Academy in Great Bend achieved their goals and were awarded high school diplomas this week. A commencement celebration on Tuesday, May 23 gave graduates the chance to wear cap and gowns as they received their diplomas in front of friends and families.
“We did it,” graduate Linzie Nicole Miller said as she addressed the audience. She quoted Oscar Wilde, who said, “Success doesn’t rush. The greatest reward is the journey.”
“Two years ago I didn’t think this was possible,” Miller said, as she thanked the staff and teachers at BCA.
Also speaking was graduate Jakeb M. Cauthon, who said the fellow students had become a family, “not so different from any school.” To those students, he said, “If you need me, I’m only one call away.”
Barton County Academy, located at 1705 K-96 in the Westgate Shopping Center, allows students to complete their high school diploma with an accredited high school. Classes are provided through computer-based curriculum, which allows students to work within and outside its classrooms. There is also an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program and a free supervised playroom for children of the students.
In addition to the two designated speakers, other graduates were allowed to speak if they wanted to. Samantha Rider thanked her boyfriend for urging her to complete her high school diploma.
“I only needed a few credits,” she said. “I’m glad to be graduating with you.”
National Adult Education Honor Society members received special recognition. BCA instructor Patty Fletchall said benefits of NAEHS membership include a letter of recommendation for employment. These students were noted for having outstanding attendance, cooperation and self-reliance. Their names are marked with an asterisk in the list of graduates: Maria Luz Arias de Garcia*, Jakeb M. Cauthon, Araly Garcia Castillo*, Ozborne Gould, Julia E. Marin*, Linzie Nicole Miller, Katelyn Nichols, Jesus Angel Marquez, Isela Olivas Gonzalez, Fernando Prieto, Samantha Nicole Rider, Martha Guadalupe Sanchez Valdez*, Grace Tittel, Trinity Vance.