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BCA celebrates commencement
Barton County Academy students graduate
Barton County Academy graduates release balloons outside of Trinity United Methodist Church on Tuesday following the BCA Class of 2021 commencement ceremony. - photo by Susan Thacker

The Barton County Academy Class of 2021 celebrated 25 students earning high school diplomas on Tuesday, May 25, with a commencement program at Trinity United Methodist Church in Great Bend.

An overflow audience watched friends and family members enter the room wearing traditional caps and gowns.

Patty Fletchall, the ESL teacher from Barton County Academy, welcomed the audience, introducing guest speaker Chris Lehew, pastor at Trinity United Methodist. Graduating student Graciela McIntosh also spoke briefly.

The speakers compared graduation to a stop on an ongoing journey that hasn’t always been easy.

“We told (the students) that we would walk this journey with them but they had to do their part,” Fletchall said. “First, they showed up. They were self-motivated and that was the key. They kept their eyes fixed on the climb; they let the dream of their diploma be the source.

“Next, they stepped up. Some days were tough and seemed hard, but one step, one lesson, one day at a time, they learned to climb with others and, together, the steps were easier.” Finally, she said, the graduates are stepping out with confidence. “Congratulations and continue your dreams.”

Lehew encouraged the graduates to take what they learned to others as they continue their journey. He concluded, “You have a story – you have a journey – celebrate it.”

After the ceremony, there was a reception with refreshments and then graduates were invited to help Fletchall release balloons. Each balloon carried a message from a graduate.

The Class of 2021

In addition to earning their high school diplomas, six of the graduates were inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society. National Adult Honor Society members for 2021 are Tessa Bailey, Mariah Fleming and Victoria Luttrell, all from Hoisington USD 431, and Graciela McIntosh, Maria del Rocio Perez, and Belia Urena, all from Great Bend USD 428. Russell and Ellinwood also sponsored BCA students graduating.

Other graduates are Danyelle Allison, Sandra Calderon, Ana Rode Campos, Melissa Diane Dimitt, Lauren Dirreen, Kaylee Eckart, Kymber B. Haley, James Hazlett, Shyanne Huntley, Jennifer N. Mayhugh, Ethyn Pletcher, Christopher J. Reed, Richard Schroeder, Dallas Staab, Kaylynn Stanley, Hannah E. Trevethan, Jonni Anne Weesner, Peter Westerman and Nydia Medrano-Zubia.