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Examiner
  • Fort Osage graduates praise school for never giving up on students

  • Because she recently got her own apartment and a new address, Jeana Dailey said she didn’t get the letter from Fort Osage High School about the morning practice for Tuesday evening’s graduation ceremony at the Community of Christ auditorium.

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  • Because she recently got her own apartment and a new address, Jeana Dailey said she didn’t get the letter from Fort Osage High School about the morning practice for Tuesday evening’s graduation ceremony at the Community of Christ auditorium.
    “I was bawling my eyes out,” Dailey said as she and her 353 fellow graduates gathered in the basement before the school’s 59th annual commencement exercises. “I kept calling the school back.”
    Eventually, Dailey was assured she had accomplished a first among several siblings.
    “All my sisters have never graduated; they had kids and dropped out,” Dailey said, adding that one of the six older sisters later received her GED, and another younger sister is finishing her sophomore year. “What motivated me the most was when everybody said I wasn’t going to graduate.”
    Dailey said she experienced some bullying in junior high, but after a transfer to the Fort Osage district she eventually found solid footing in the Lewis and Clark Academy for alternative learning.
    “When I started high school I didn’t have the greatest grades, but Mrs. C (Carla Burgess) and Dr. (Wendy) McChristy pushed me,” she said. “I probably would’ve (graduated), but I probably wouldn’t have worked so hard.”
    Dailey said she wanted to prove her doubting family members wrong by graduating, and now she plans to study at Metropolitan Community College-Blue River in hopes of becoming an obstetrician/gynecologist.
    “My whole family’s going to be here, all of them that can,” she said. “I’m excited, really excited. It’s a dream come true for me.”
    Grant Davis was class valedictorian, Revan Hammontree the salutatorian and Hannah Freeman and class president Cierra Pritchett were the class speakers. Freeman urged her classmates to find their own success and ignore the past failures of others, and Pritchett said while keeping the future in mind is important, one shouldn’t ignore the simple pleasures to today.
    “The time is now, so get after it,” Pritchett said.
    Anthony Neal had to get after it a bit longer to graduate, but that didn’t make Tuesday any less sweeter for the 19-year-old.
    “I waited two years to finally graduate,” he said. “I was supposed to graduate in 2011, but some things went wrong. I had to re-take some classes. The school kept helping me out and telling me to never give up.
    “I’ve got some friends to walk with. I’m glad to have the feeling I’ll be walking across the stage. It’s a great feeling.”
    The day he was informed he would be walking won’t be forgotten either.
    “I found out Feb. 6. It was a big day because my friend left for the Navy, and when I got back from seeing him off I got the news,” Neal said, adding that he’s discerning also joining the U.S. Navy. “It was a great day to remember.”
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