After four years of being in the school band together and preparing for their futures, cousins Kaitlyn Knight and Ravin Rhodes are ready to say goodbye to Seymour High School.
But graduating still won’t be easy emotionally, they agreed.
“It’s scary,” Knight said. “Moving on to something new.”
But it’s a step both girls say they are ready to take.
Knight, Rhodes and another cousin, Chris Knight, will receive their diplomas along with their classmates during commencement at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Lloyd E. “Barney” Scott Gymnasium. A total of 284 seniors make up the Class of 2016.
For Chris Knight, graduation is “bittersweet,” he said.
“You are happy. No more school. It’s summertime. You get to hang out with your friends,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s sad because I won’t see the friends I have made in the last four years every day.”
When he walks across the stage and receives his diploma, though, he knows it will all be worth it.
“I think what will be going through my mind is I worked hard for this and all the time I spent is paying off,” he said.
Kaitlyn Knight and Rhodes have worked hard to get to graduation, too, and don’t plan to take it easy in college.
Both plan to stay close to home, at least for the next couple of years.
Kaitlyn has enrolled in classes at Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus, with plans to possibly attend Indiana State University in the future, and Ravin will begin her post-secondary classes by going to Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus and then transferring to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
But their future career plans are very different.
Having been told at a young age she would make a good teacher, Kaitlyn said she plans to major in education and speech pathology.
With a love of science and psychology that began when she was in elementary school, Ravin said she is working to become a forensic psychologist.
And Chris will attend Franklin College this fall to pursue his future plans of becoming an educator.
“I think being around teachers every day has given me a feel for what I should expect from a teacher’s point of view,” he said.
Chris said he was most inspired by teacher Scott Miller.
“He taught me things in the classroom that I would use in everyday life, such as don’t be late to class and do your work on time,” Chris Knight said. “Also being friendly to one another goes a long way.”
Rhodes said science teacher Brad Cobb and English teacher and yearbook adviser Elizabeth DeLeeuw made the most impact on her. Rhodes served on the yearbook staff and was a member of astronomy club.
“They were the teachers that took the extra steps to help students make sure they knew what they were doing,” she said.
For Kaitlyn, it was band director Kevin Cottrill who had the biggest impact on her.
“He pushed me to be my best in everything, not just in the subject he taught,” she said.
Besides band, Kaitlyn also was involved in a prayer group and is a 10-year member of Jackson County 4-H.
While Kaitlyn and Rhodes spent four years in band, Chris spent his high school years playing sports. He was on the football, track, basketball and baseball teams and plans to play football at Franklin.
He will miss his friends and playing sports with them the most after graduation, he said.
Kaitlyn and Rhodes also said they will miss their friends the most, even though they will still stay in touch with them.
Being able to share your high school years with family is a unique experience all three said they have enjoyed the past four years.
“They helped me understand things in class and vice versa,” Chris said. “They both would help me if I ever needed it.”
“Having my cousins in the same class has helped us all stay close,” Rhodes added.
For most of the summer, the three will be busy working jobs and preparing for college.
Kaitlyn works at the new Chick-fil-A in Columbus and will spend time as a camp counselor with Rhodes at the Indiana United Pentecostal Church International church camp in Fortville.
Chris is working at Tractor Supply Co. in Seymour and helping train the next Seymour Owls football team before practice begins for the Grizzlies.
In leaving SHS, the cousins each had some advice for the Class of 2017.
“Always do your homework and enjoy every second of being a senior,” Chris said.
“But don’t get senioritis and make sure to try something new,” Rhodes added.
“Make memories, but don’t forget your studies,” Kaitlyn said.
What: Seymour High School graduation
When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Lloyd E. “Barney” Scott Gymnasium
Who: 284 seniors will graduate
Valedictorian: Lindsey Hume
Salutatorian: Hao Li