Behind the Class of 2021 are all their memories, before them lies all their dreams. Within them they have everything they need for success, despite around them a world nobody ever could have imagined.
Baldwin-Woodville Class of 2021 President, Lauren Thompson and Class Vice-President Blaine Guthrie are just two of the Baldwin-Woodville’s soon-to-be gradu-ates that in a very unconventional year have still managed to enjoy the ride.
Coming into her senior year, Thompson expected school to be closed occasionally due to COVID. “Other than the few weeks that the high school used a hybrid schedule, we were able to attend school in-person all year. I’m really thankful to have had the chance to attend my senior year in person,” she said.
Coming into his senior year, Guthrie’s expectations for himself were to finish up goals he had set. He said, “Because of COVID, rules were different. It took away from some experiences, such as the senior incentives, but the best parts of my Sen-ior year were building better relationships.”
Although a little different than what the senior class had envisioned for years, it ended up not being so bad. Thompson said, “I was afraid that our senior year would be filled with weeks of quarantine for the whole district like it was last year. We did wear masks, social distance and incorporate more disinfecting protocols throughout the year, but those changes were well worth it if it meant we could stay in school. Administrators and teachers found ways to allow us to enjoy our senior year while adhering to the CDC guidelines. The year was unique, but it doesn’t feel like we lost out on our senior experiences like we feared might happen.”
She said Schedules were created this year to limit the interaction between stu-dents. “This was done to keep us safe and reduce close contacts, but I do wish that I would have been able to spend more time with all of my classmates. The district has done a phenomenal job of giving us safe alternative activities, but I miss the daily interaction with more of my classmates,” said Thompson.
Regardless, there was plenty to enjoy. Thompson said, ‘There were so many activi-ties that I’m fortunate to be involved with; tennis season, supporting sporting events, snowball week and prom. The annual events that I’ve been looking forward to for years were revised, but they took place and for that I’m thankful. Beyond the ‘big events’ I’ve truly enjoyed the time each day that I’ve spent in the classroom with my teachers and peers. Having been separated last spring, I now realize how special the little things that we do on a daily basis are to me. From spirit week dress up days to joking with my teachers to singing with my classmates in choir, I’ve tried to enjoy every moment and it has made my senior year unforgettable.”
Guthrie feels COVID taught him, “To stop and take it all in. I learned to appreciate and take time for my family. We were fortunate that COVID didn’t take anyone close to us, but that wasn’t the case for a lot of others.”
Thompson agreed. She said, “I have always been extremely busy; involved in activ-ities every day of the week. Then COVID-19 struck and my whole world seemed to stop. I learned that I can’t take my involvement and my experiences for granted. I learned that spending more time with my family was wonderful and slowing down and taking better care of myself made me healthier. In the end, you have to be happy with who you are and not let your activities define you. You are who you are no matter your circumstances, so you might as well make the best of the situation you’ve been given.”
Thompson said her high school experience has taught her the importance of hav-ing a strong support system. “Learning goes far beyond academics and the
Baldwin-Woodville School District has provided many opportunities for involve-ment and I’ve learned so much from each one of my experiences. My teachers, from elementary to high school, have taught me far more than the content in their subject areas. They have encouraged me to do my best and have supported me as I tried to reach my goals. Their unwavering support over the years has allowed me to build my self esteem and obtain the confidence that I will need as I pursue the next step in my education.”
“I’ve had so many wonderful teachers, but there is one fifth grade teacher who
has always been there for me. She helped me develop my passion for agriculture by hatching chicks in her classroom during her rural life unit. This teacher has al-lowed me to assist in her classroom and learn the skills that will help me fulfill my dream of becoming a youth development educator. She has pushed me to do my best and to try new things, many of which have helped shape the person I am to-day. This teacher has taught me that there is always a silver lining and has instilled in me the importance of a positive attitude. She has taught me to be kind to every-one around me and emphasized how important it is to make the best of every situ-ation. I am so thankful for her unconditional love, and I am honored to call Mrs. Thompson my mom,” said Thompson.
She said the B-W Class of ‘21 has an overwhelming amount of talent. “We have in-credible musicians, dedicated state athletes, accomplished artists, skilled speakers and excellent leaders involved in countless activities. Despite a difficult situation caused by the pandemic, our class has persevered and made our senior year mem-orable. We’ve had to overcome adversity and depend on each other to find the highlights in our last year of high school,” Thompson said.
Guthrie said he enjoyed all four years of high school. He believes what makes his graduating class special is the fact that they are all unique. “We go from one end of the spectrum to the other and for the most part, we all like each other and get along,” he said.
When asked what one staff member from school made the biggest impact on him, he responded, “Mrs. Kamm was my advisor and biggest supporter at school. She is just a great person in general.”
Guthrie is excited to go to college and play baseball at the next level. His High School experience taught him there will be ups and downs in life and he hopes to take them in stride.
Thompson said The Baldwin-Woodville community has provided her with so many opportunities. She said, “The members of our community have accepted me for who I am and have encouraged me throughout my entire journey. Now that I’m moving away to college, my biggest concern is not finding this feeling of home in the future. Wherever my path takes me in my career, I certainly hope that I will find a strong, vibrant community like Baldwin-Woodville to call home.”
As far as advice for next year’s seniors, Guthrie said, “Don’t take anything to seri-ous! Just do the best that you can, and everything will fall into place.”
My advice to others in high school is to appreciate the time you have left and to al-ways thank the people who helped get you to where you are now. Don’t take any-thing for granted because you never know what you have until it’s gone. Enjoy the little things like laughing in the hallways, interacting with your teachers, and talk-ing to your friends before class starts. Those moments are what make high school so special,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s future plans include attending Kansas State University to pursue a degree in Animal Science and Industry Leadership.
Guthrie’s future plans include going to college and playing baseball as a Northeast Hawk out of Nebraska.