Monday, May 8, 2017

Caleb Adwell Remembered at NEN Graduation; Vanessa Riley and Andrew Freemyer Take Top Honors

When they were freshmen, members of the Class of 2017 knew exactly when the final bell was about to ring because Caleb Adwell would always start counting down the time in the background; sure enough, he had a perfect internal timer in his head. That was a story Valedictorian Vanessa Riley told about him as nine Northeast Nodaway students graduated and walked the aisle for the last time. Caleb passed away prematurely, but, for the rest of his classmates, it changed them drastically between their freshman and senior years.

Former Principal Linda Mattson spoke to the class and recalled her first year with them in third grade, when they all slid down a sled during winter. Their fourth grade year was the year they did an amazing skit to the country song, “International Harvester.” They also put on another skit with Santa Claus and a bunch of penguins, with Andrew Freemyer as Santa Claus. They were the final class to have a 6th grade sendoff from Parnell and go all the way through.

“Success is not measured by degrees or salaries, but integrity,” said Linda Mattson. “Now, you get to choose.” When Linda was in high school at Northeast Nodaway, the late Claude Samson would always expect the students to police each other at games, since he was on the bench coaching the team; this was a lesson that Mattson carried with her throughout her years at Northeast. She recalled how she would always give students talks about attitudes. “What do you want me to say about you in a few years,” she would ask them.”

Now that they were no longer in high school, Mattson said there was no more reason for them not to try anymore. “The world will see who you really are,” she said. “School is practice for life.” She challenged them to “always keep Caleb in the back of your minds.”

Salutatorian Andrew Freemyer told his classmates not to follow the example of the man in “Glory Days,” who felt like there was nothing more to live for and was always going back to his glory days in high school.

Graduating from the Class of 2017 are Dalton Auffert, Andrew Freemyer, Vanessa Riley, Amanda Standiford, Tanner Wilcox, Kiley Deardorff, Wyatt Henggeler, Alicia Smith, and Rowdy West.
Dalton Auffert will become part of the family farm. Kiley Deardorff is planning to enter the workforce and start with some on the job training. Andrew Freemyer will be attending North Central Missouri College and obtain his Associate of Arts Degree. He will then transfer to Northwest Missouri State and major in Biochemistry and minor in Genetics. Alicia Smith will be attending Northwest Missouri State and major in Business/Marketing Management and perform with the dance company. Amanda Standiford will be attending Sullivan University in Louisville (KY) and obtain her Associate of Arts in Event Management and Tourism. Rowdy West will attend North Central Missouri College and obtain his Associate of Arts of Teaching and play baseball. He then plans to transfer to a 4-year college to obtain his Bachelor’s Degree. Tanner Wilcox will enter the workforce.

“We weren’t the same class as we were when we were freshmen,” said Riley. “We came out of school much stronger and wiser.”

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