Graduation is always a bittersweet time of year, saying goodbye to students as they branch out and make their own way in the world.
Over the last several years, Clarke Community Schools has seen an upward trend in graduates, future planning, and overall academic and professional achievements. The district strives to not only keep up with educational trends but to stay ahead of them through constant innovation and structuring of the curriculum and programming. Clarke is currently ahead of state requirements and is proud of the district’s ability to foresee and take action to address future needs.
The Clarke Class of 2019 consists of 93 graduates with many already following their career path. Of those 93 graduates, 33 of them are headed to 2-year vocational or training programs, 22 going to 4-year schools, 20 jumping right into the work force, 4 joining the military, and 14 who haven’t committed to one course of action at this time. High School Counselor, Jennifer Scott credits the innovative curriculum and new school-to-work programs at Clarke for the outstanding success of their graduates.
“The community has put in a lot of work to build a better vision of the future for these students,” she said. “Through the different advisory boards, career speakers, mentoring opportunities, and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, the students get a glimpse of the boundless possibilities ahead of them.”
With dozens of seniors receiving awards and recognition this year, we wanted to highlight a few of the standouts. As a community, as parents and administrators that have seen these students grow through the Clarke district, it’s a pleasure to feature a sample of the outstanding graduates from the class of 2019.
Samuel earned the spot of Valedictorian of his class through his unyielding hard work and determination. Much of his high school career was split between Clarke Schools and Central Academy in Des Moines, where he had the opportunity to take more advanced classes. As one of the first Clarke students to take this path, he has helped open that door for many others in the district. Samuel not only earned the top spot in academics at Clarke, but he also participated in extra-curricular activities. He has been part of the band, playing alto saxophone in the marching, concert, pep and jazz bands. As a force on the tennis courts, Samuel and Evan Hagen took home the title of SCC Doubles Champions. Samuel has also been involved in theater since the age of three, starting out in local children’s theater and participating in plays and musicals all through high school, winning accolades and awards through the process. In the fall, Samuel will be attending Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, for environmental studies and economics.
“My family has definitely been a huge inspiration to me. My parents, leading by example, instilled an incredible work ethic, but my grandfather, Iowa Supreme Court Justice W. Ward Reynoldson, was the most inspirational influence in my life,” said Samuel. “His story taught me to take chances and try different things. You never know what you can accomplish until you put in the effort and work for what you want.”
As a participant in the CCDC/Clarke Schools Health Career Academy, Megan was able to career shadow at Clarke County Hospital and see first-hand the challenges and benefits of nursing. As the 2019 co-Salutatorian with Emily Barajas who will be attending Iowa State in the Fall, Megan will be taking the career academy experiences with her as she attends Grandview University in Des Moines to start in their nursing program. Megan has already earned her CNA license through SWCC all while breaking records on the basketball court and being named to the 1st Team All-Conference twice, breaking the 1,000 career point benchmark, as well as becoming Clarke’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals with 175. Not only will she be playing college basketball at Grandview, Megan also earned a considerable academic scholarship through Grandview’s top Presidential Scholarship award. She credits much of her success to her parents who have been excellent role models in achieving success through teaching her discipline and the work ethic needed to be successful in business and life.
“Get involved in something… even if you have just a little interest in it, because it could end up being something you love,” said Linskens. “Step outside your comfort zone, taking risks is what makes success possible.”
In a competitive and impressive class, Diana has already used her drive and work ethic to make a name for herself. She was selected at the beginning of her senior year for a one-of-a-kind internship at Osceola’s City Hall. With a plan to study political science, Diana will be attending Simpson College in Indianola as part of their distinguished Culver Fellowship. Earning a spot in this program opens doors for Diana through scholarships, the chance to further political programs around the school, attend election events in Des Moines, and participate in a paid intern placement in Washington, DC. She is driven to success through a desire to be prepared for the future and to make a difference in the lives of those around her. As a top winner of Iowa’s Better Business Bureau Student of Integrity Award, she makes it a point to find each individual’s strengths and constantly learn from each interaction.
“Success and resiliency go hand-in-hand. If you got through everything you’ve faced so far, you can persevere through every challenge ahead of you,” said Diana. “Experience everything you can. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is the only way we can grow as humans.”
As stated before, this year’s graduating class has an impressive number of students who’ve earned awards and advanced recognition. A compiled list of the class’s accomplishments can be seen on the Clarke Community Schools Web site at “https://www.clarke.k12.ia.us/article/114240?org=clarke-community-schools .”
As a committed partner to Clarke Community Schools, the Clarke County Development Corporation works hard to offer options to all county students through programs like career advisory boards, grants for technology, and career education opportunities throughout the community.
“Our Health Career Academy, Industrial Tech Advisory Board and other career path programs have made a tremendous difference in Osceola and Clarke County,” said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the CCDC. “Every year sees more participation, with next year’s class, we’re already looking at placing two students as apprentices at Altec and another at Fleetside Ford. These opportunities strengthen the community and Osceola’s reputation as one of the best communities in Iowa.”
We’d like to send a big congratulations out to all of the graduating seniors at Clarke Community Schools and wish them the best of luck on their future endeavors. If the amazing achievements they’ve earned to date are any sign, we’re certain the future of Osceola and Clarke County are bright.