The last weeks of a senior’s high school journey should be filled with solidifying plans for the future, donning formalwear for prom and celebrating graduation with friends and family. Instead, the Class of 2020 is navigating uncharted territory.
A group of 64 seniors from across Kansas have been selected to share their own stories and give guidance to their peers on how to transition from high school to postsecondary plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hutchinson High School senior Ronald “Ron” Heminway is among the group of 64.
Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson asked Kansas principals and superintendents for recommendations for the Senior Leaders Conversation group. From that group, 64 seniors were selected, and the first conversation with Kansas State Department of Education staff members took place April 21 via Zoom.
“You’re going to give advice on how to navigate through all of this,” Deputy Commissioner Brad Neuenswander told the group. “We are so proud you are here and joining us. You are serving as the voices of our seniors. We need you to help guide us and help seniors.”
HHS’ Heminway was a natural for the group.
"Ronald Heminway has distinguished himself as an intelligent, conscientious and energetic student,” said Ryan Ewy, HHS principal. “He has an excellent rapport with the school community and naturally gets along with everyone. Furthermore, Ronald holds himself accountable to the highest of standards. Currently, Ron's class rank is second out of 338 students with a weighted GPA of 6.63 and unweighted GPA of 3.96. He's a full IB Diploma candidate planning on studying engineering at KU next year.”
For Heminway, challenge and change have been part of his life.
“Ron has an interesting story in that he was adopted from an orphanage in Shanghai, China, when he was young and to this day maintains an attitude of gratitude and appreciation for all his blessings,” Ewy said. “He is not easily discouraged and enthusiastically takes on challenges with a smile. It is through these traits that he serves as an outstanding role model for others."
Conversations with members of the Class of 2020 will continue. A smaller group of students selected from the original group of 64 will be asked to share further conversation with KSDE staff members.