By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
Seven Elida teenagers have closed the book on one chapter of their lives and are about to set sail on another.
Ron Haley, Brandy Hudson, Tanner Kube, Daniel Lee, Alicia Cross Smith, Lindsey Ward and Caleb Widener comprise Elida’s seven member class of ‘07 and Saturday was their night.
“I’m glad to be here but I’m ready for it to be over with,” Kube said.
Kube also wanted his parents to know how much he has appreciated their help.
“They’ve worked about as hard as I have to get me here.”
Hudson, the valedictorian, is the oldest of four girls in her family, and father Randy Hudson says she sets a good example for her younger sisters.
“It’s very special,” Randy Hudson said. “It’s one of the most special days of the year. She’s worked hard ever since she was in kindergarten. She loves school, and that’s always been her thing.”
Brandy plans on attending Eastern New Mexico University and has her sights set on becoming a certified public accountant.
“Brandy has always been a self starter,” the elder Hudson said. “She does everything on her own, and she’s been that way since she started school.”
Elida head baseball coach Jimmy Ward’s daughter, Lindsey Ward, was also one of the Elida seven Saturday night, and Ward was a proud parent.
“This is my baby graduating tonight,” Ward said. “I don’t know if she’s worked hard enough or not, but I’m very proud of what she’s done. She’s turned into a beautiful young lady.”
A graduating class of just seven may be small, even for Elida standards, but the graduates say the class size brought them closer.
“It’s pretty nice being able to graduate with close friends like this,” Kube said. “We’re all pretty tight-knit.”
“It is pretty cool because you do know everyone,” Widener said. “Everything you do everyone’s involved in.”
Most of the Elida graduating seniors say they’re likely to attend ENMU and the commencement keynote speaker and ENMU professor Don Elder says that’s a good thing.
“We’ve tried to add programs like the agriculture major that will appeal to kids graduating from schools like Elida,” Elder said. “Once the students come to Eastern then it’s up to us, the faculty, to provide an education so that the kids will go back to Elida with the experience they’ve had.”