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May 2022 Candidates for Early College Academy Graduation Celebrated

Early College Academy graduates pose with their certificates.
Published: Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Butler Community College recognizes 86 high seniors earning college credentials

It is not common for high school seniors to celebrate two graduations in May – one from high school and one from college. However, in Butler County, Kansas it is becoming more commonplace all the time. Since 2010, Butler Community College’s Early College Academy has celebrated hundreds of seniors who earned their two-year college degree or one-year certificate and high school diploma simultaneously.  

This past weekend college administration honored the 86 Early College Academy graduates with the presentation of their academic chords to be worn during Commencement on May 13.  

Butler offers 11 different early college pathways from which students can choose: Business, Cyber Security, Engineering Studies, Game and Simulation Design, Liberal Arts, Culinary Arts, Agriculture, Health Sciences, Welding, Construction Technology, and Education. Pathways are taught in Andover, Augusta, El Dorado, Douglass, and Rose Hill. The Liberal Arts pathway is also offered online.  

“There aren't very many Kansas graduating seniors as well positioned as you are for college,” said Butler President Kim Krull, Ph.D., as she congratulated the graduates. 

Krull added, that by choosing Butler as their starting point, the 2022 Academy students saved on average $8,000 per year in college costs. “Collectively this group has saved $1.4 million in higher education costs. And that’s another reason to celebrate.” Krull instantly received applause from the many families and friends gathered on the El Dorado campus. 

Another impressive data point was delivered by Heather Rinkenbaugh, dean of Online, High School and Community Learning. She shared that this Academy class collectively garnered $2,339,850 worth of scholarship offers from four-year universities.  

“You’re here. You did it,” she said. “Your decision to participate in the Early College Academy has given you a head start and placed you on a solid foundation.” 

Sydney Duncan of Clearwater attended the Andover campus for the Game and Simulation Design program. In her Reflection to her classmates she shared she entered the Academy at 15 years old and had many worries about earning top grades and about fitting in. She learned she didn’t need to worry about such things. “You’ll naturally find your group sooner than you think,” she said, adding “Instructors really do care about your success. They really do want you to come to them and seek out their expertise.” 

Cayden Brown of Derby also offered a Reflection. He attended the Rose Hill Health Sciences Academy. Cayden highlighted the fact he learned to put class over his social life and, as a student-athlete, to plan ahead. “I'm proud of the challenges I faced and the adversity I overcame,” he said. “I stand here today with confidence and a sense of pride.” He added the Academy experience made him a better person.   

Martha Sager, Ph.D., professor of biology, served as the keynote speaker. She challenged the graduates to always be willing to change themselves, citing the many challenges and changes they’ve already faced to get where they are now. This class adapted to the many classroom changes due to the pandemic and still arrived at the end of their academic paths at Butler. “You’ve persevered and you were changed,” she said. Referencing finals week, she told the graduates, “I hope you do well, but more importantly, I hope you do good. That’s how you change yourself and how you change the world.” 

Other platform speakers offering their congratulations included Shelby Smith, Butler Community College trustee, Dr. Tom Nevill, vice president of Academics, Catherine Hoefer, Rose Hill Academy office coordinator, and Dr. Donnie Featherston, associate dean of the Early College Academy.  

The 2022 Early College Academy graduates are grouped below by hometown (high school and pathway denoted):  

Andover  

Pallas Adams-Andover Central High School (Health Science) 

Xara Bacci-Andover Central High School (Humanities) 

Brooklyn Barbour-Andover Central High School (Education) 

Cheyenne Brannan-Andover Central High School (Health Science) 

Taylor Downs-Andover High School (Engineering) 

Lauren Fuksa-Andover Central High School (Health Science) 

Dacia McGuire-Andover Central High School (Health Science) 

Whitney Wineland-Andover Central High School (Humanities) 

Augusta 

Garrett Blazer-Augusta High School (Welding Certificate) 

Caden Dresher-Augusta High School (Engineering) 

Jensen Ervin-Augusta High School (Business) 

Collin Forsyth-Augusta High School (Engineering) 

Kayla Meadows-Augusta High School (Humanities) 

Skyler Rawlings-Augusta High School (Humanities) 

Kaylee Vaughters-Rose Hill High School (Education) 

Clearwater 

Sydney Duncan-Home school (Game and Sim) 

Derby 

Joseph Anderson-Derby High School (Health Science) 

Mallory Anderson-Derby High School (Education) 

Lilian Asay-Derby High School (Game and Sim) 

Abigail Balla-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Cayden Brown-Derby High School (Health Science) 

Taylor Buffington-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Jennifer Chhim-Derby High School (Cyber Security) 

Colin Chitwood-Derby High School (Culinary) 

Haley Clark-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Bennett Cottrell-Mulvane High School (Health Science) 

Macy Dowell-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Analaura Edwards-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Kerrigan Flanders-Derby High School (Health Science) 

Lauryn Jones-Derby High School (Business) 

Rebecca Kooser-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Autumn Lanning-Derby High School (Education) 

Ethan Lees-Derby High School (Engineering) 

Samantha Lees-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Chianne O'Beirne-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Logan Pittman-Derby High School (Engineering) 

Alexis Silva-Derby High School (Engineering) 

Journey Swartz-Derby High School (Health Science) 

Christopher Thomsen-Derby High School (Health Science) 

Katelynn Tiffany-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Lauren Walker-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Melissa Whalen-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Monica Whalen-Derby High School (Health Science) 

Brianna Wheeler-Derby High School (Humanities) 

Douglass 

Ereka Hiser-Douglass High School (Health Science) 

El Dorado 

Gabriel Krug-El Dorado High School (Engineering) 

Cody Meece-El Dorado High School (Welding Certificate) 

Lily Son-Circle High School (Humanities) 

Jaelyn Sheffler-El Dorado High School (Humanities Certificate) 

Goddard 

Grace Villegas-Eisenhower High School (Humanities) 

Haysville 

Riley Manny-Derby High School (Education) 

Leon 

Riley Manny-Derby High School (Education) 

Mulvane 

Christopher Ables-Mulvane High School (Humanities) 

Brantlee Allen-Mulvane High School (Humanities) 

Emma Anderson-Mulvane High School (Health Science) 

Mackenzie Atterbury-Mulvane High School (Health Science) 

Ashley Browning-Mulvane High School (Health Science) 

Alayna Campbell-Mulvane High School (Humanities) 

Hailey Garnica-Mulvane High School (Health Science) 

Kassidy Halpain-Mulvane High School (Humanities) 

Amber Hansen-Mulvane High School (Health Science) 

William Hoobler-Mulvane High School (Education) 

Olivia Lampe-Mulvane High School (Health Science) 

Chase Nash-Mulvane High School (Health Science) 

Ana Scantlin-Mulvane High School (Health Science) 

Addison Whisler-Mulvane High School (Health Science) 

Rose Hill 

Taegan Belcher-Rose Hill High School (Health Science) 

Caleb Gregg-Rose Hill High School (Humanities) 

Lucas Haynes-Rose Hill High School (Humanities) 

Kaleb Ross-Rose Hill High School (Humanities) 

Alexia Struble-Rose Hill High School (Health Science) 

Alexandra Tolbert-Rose Hill High School (Health Science) 

Samantha Williams-Rose Hill High School (Health Science) 

Wichita 

Rafa Awad-Eljied-Andover Central High School (Health Science) 

Ann Cline-Homeschool (Education) 

Olivia Greenman-Andover eCademy (Education) 

Emma Massey-Andover High School (Health Science) 

Emily McKay-Andover High School (Humanities) 

Tim McLemore-Andover Central High School (Engineering) 

Sean Neff-Andover Central HS (Cyber Security) 

Landyn Patterson-Andover Central High School (Humanities) 

Mikayla Phillips-Circle High School (Business) 

Carter Sawyer-Faith Academy (Culinary) 

Hunter Slay-Valley Center High School (Health Science) 

Miguel Velasco-Derby High School (Cyber Security) 

Jonas Vickers-Derby High School (Education)