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PBHS valedictorians celebrate award

Although they strive for individualism, they are more similar than different

Staff writer

With four valedictorians, Peabody-Burns High School’s four top honors winners had to show their individuality some way.

For Body Kyle it was easy, being the only male recipient of a valedictorian medal.

The three girls — Bethany Loucks, Amy Wedel, and Sarah Hofkamp — tried to use their shoes to stand out. Each wore 4-inch-plus stiletto heels; Wedel’s were bright blue. As frequent travelers up and down the small set of stairs up to receive a bevy of scholarships, Loucks and Wedel agreed the shoes may not have been practical.

Really, the four valedictorians did not mind sharing the honor. Loucks said they all deserved it; they had all received perfect 4.0 grade point averages. Loucks said it was better this way.

Another shared experience was each getting to deliver abbreviated, 2- to 5-minute, speeches at PBHS’s ceremony Sunday.

Although they strived to be individuals, the Peabody-Burns valedictorians were more similar than they were different. Kyle, Loucks, and Wedel all said they attributed hard work to accomplishing a goal.

“We’re the type of people where we don’t do the minimum,” Loucks said of herself and Wedel.

Only Hofkamp was not planning to immediately pursue a four-year college education. She will head to Paraguay to participate in mission work with the Mennonite Mission Network.

Loucks and Wedel proclaimed themselves “BFFs.” Although Wedel is more a math geek and Loucks is more of a wordsmith, they have studied together. Although Loucks is planning to major in education at Friends University in Wichita and Wedel is planning to major in pre-veterinary medicine at Bethel College in North Newton, they are planning on seeing a lot of each other.

“We both have cars,” Loucks said.

Loucks, Wedel, and Kyle all live on farms away from Peabody; Loucks had a 45-minute commute to school. That farm experience, taking care of animals, influenced Kyle and Wedel to both pursue veterinary medicine. Kyle is planning to attend Kansas State University.

“I always wanted to be a doctor,” Kyle said. “I have a real love of animals.”

Kyle and Loucks both said perseverance was an academic strength.

“There were time where I was like, ‘Why am I doing this?’” Kyle said.

For Loucks, her bout with adversity came two years prior when her house burned down and she lost most of her possessions.

“It definitely showed me it’s not what you have that matters,” she said. “It’s the people around you; it’s faith; it’s school that matter.”

Last modified May 23, 2012

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