Seniors walk across stage, receive diplomas at graduation on May 12


Paige Polifka-Denson

Seniors took the moment after graduation to be congratulated by theur loved ones. The class of 2019 graduated on May 12 at 1:30 p.m. at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

Walking down the aisle leading to their fate, the seniors look around the large arena at their classmates surrounding them.

The class of 2019 said their farewells to the school that fostered the last four years of their lives.

Graduation, a milestone in most people’s lives, took place for Hays High seniors on May 12, with instructor Silas Hibbs as the commencement speaker.

“The paradox of change is that it seems natural, yet simultaneously extremely uncomfortable,” Hibbs said in his speech. “As many of you know from first-hand experience, change can have both favorable and unfavorable outcomes.”

Each senior experienced this drastic change in their life, but not without a lasting impact on their school and themselves.

Paige Polifka-Denson
Senior Brittani Park comforts sophomore Emmy Morley.

The accomplishments of the 2019 senior class include, but are not limited to:

  • 105 seniors have been awarded over 292 scholarships that vary from academic, vocational, music, art, athletic, and more.
  • In other words, 65% of the seniors planning on continuing their education have received scholarships thus far with more to be announced.
  • 26 seniors received Dane Hansen Scholarships totaling $342,000.
    • 9 seniors were recipients of Dane Hansen Career and Tech Ed Scholarships valued at $8000 each, and
    • 17 seniors were recipients of Dane Hansen College Scholarships valued from $8,000 to $26,000.

  • 2 seniors are Governor’s Scholars.
  • 4 seniors are Kansas Board of Regents State Scholars.
  • 3 seniors received the Kansas State Department of Education Award for Exceptional Academic Performance (based on an ACT score of at least 32).
  • 58 seniors have received scholarship awards from Fort Hays State University.
    • 1 senior received Honors Regents Scholarship
    • 8 seniors are Ft. Hays Presidential Award of Distinction recipients,
    • 14 seniors are Ft. Hays University Scholar recipients, and
    • 1 senior is a Ft. Hays Ralph & Lucille Hunter Scholarship recipient.

  • 1 senior received the University of Kansas Hixson Opportunity Award.
  • 66 seniors have earned a 3.6 or better cumulative GPA and will graduate with Cum Laude distinction or above. 10 seniors earned a Perfect 4.0 GPA.
  • 36 seniors are members of National Honor Society.
  • 1 senior received the Hagan Scholarship.

  • 1 senior received the Foot Locker Scholar Athlete Award.
  • 4 seniors received the Kansas Department of Education Seal of Biliteracy.
  • 10 seniors received Hays FFA Chapter Scholarships totaling over $13,000.
  • 9 Hays High Senior Marketing (DECA) students qualified to compete in the International Career Development Conference.

  • 8 senior Journalism students were part of the Hays High Journalism Team that placed 2st in the 5A Division at the Kansas Scholastic Press Association State Competition.
  • The Hays High Newspaper, the Guidon Online, was a National Scholastic Press Association Peacemaker Finalist.
  • 1 senior Broadcasting student placed 1st in the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Competition this year.

  • 10 seniors received Certificates of Excellence in Art at the Fort Hays’ Annual High School Art Show.
  • 1 senior is a finalist for the Kansas Western Governors’ Association High School Art Award
  • 2 seniors won gold and silver key awards in the Eastern Kansas Regional Scholastic Art Contest

  • 35 seniors were part of the Hays High Band, Orchestra and Choirs. Every one of these programs received 3 Perfect Superior I Ratings at the State Music Festival Large Groups Competition this year.
  • The Hays High fall musical was nominated for 5 Jester Awards by the Music Theatre of Wichita. 15 seniors were cast members, not to mention the seniors who helped in other capacities like stage crew, set, and programs.

  • 8 seniors earned their CNA Certification through the Allied Health Program and 2 seniors earned their Pharmacy Technician Certification offered in partnership with North Central Kansas Technical College
  • The Hays High Industrial Tech Racing Team, included 5 seniors, placed 1st in the High Plains Electro Rally, 1st in the Wetlands Electro-Rally and 2nd place in the Touchstone Energy West Electro-Rally (for the Kansas Electro Rally State Championship Racing Series).
  • 4 seniors will serve our country by serving in the United States Military.

“The notion of ‘Embracing Change’ collectively means to willingly and enthusiastically greet change with a positive attitude,” Hibbs said. “My advice to you today is to embrace all life’s changes, good or bad, with a positive attitude to encourage learning, growth and development.”