Class size: 250 graduates

Post-secondary: $2.2 million in potential scholarship money

Summa Cum Laude: (Grain Valley does not name a valedictorian and salutatorian) Elijah Allen, Cally Beckman Howe, Phylicia Call, Spencer Castle, Shelby Dowling, Alexandra Elder, Zachary Holland, Joshua Jones, Charlotte Leske, Alexandra Manz, Kyla McBride, Claire Rose, Shelby Sack, Chase Sarna, Baylee Sims, Colton Trumble, Kole Wagener, Brock Weekley, Trent Weigel


Emma Fundenberger: She recalled an experience for many students – staring blankly at a computer screen trying to figure out how to start a paper. The introduction, she said, is the hardest part of a paper.

After the experiences of kindergarten, elementary school, middle school – “Let's just skip over that part,” Fundenberger said, drawing some laughter – and then high school, it's time for a new chapter.

“The beginning of the new part of our lives is like writing the intro to a paper,” she said. “Every great paper started with a great, challenging intro.

“Our story is not over. During our lives, we're going to be staring at blank computer screens, wondering how to begin.”

The graduates' advantage, she said, is their education and experience at Grain Valley.


Kourtney Michael (faculty): After missing the early part of the school year when she became a mother for the second time, Michael said she worried about being able to connect with students.

“Your students welcomed me back, and they worked their butts off,” she said. “By the end of the school year, they were the ones that challenged me.”

Her English students asked many questions of “why,” she said, and just as she doesn't expect her students to take what she says blindly, the new graduates should never be afraid to ask questions of themselves and others.

“I want that to be the quality that I taught them,” she said, “the importance of challenging your thinking.”