Danedri Thompson
More than 460 local students officially will say farewell to childhood as Gardner Edgerton High School and Spring Hill High School host graduation ceremonies on Saturday.
Principals at both schools remininced about the class of 2012 and believe the future looks bright for members of the graduating class.
“They’ve been a great class,” Principal Tim Brady said of the soon-to-be 306 GEHS graduates. “They’re quality human beings, quality people. It’s a class with a lot of character.”
The class is the first set of GEHS graduates who attended separate middle schools, Brady said. They started seventh grade as one large class at Wheatridge Middle School and were divided into two schools when they entered eighth grade and Pioneer Ridge Middle School opened.
SHHS Principal Angelo Cocolis echoed similar sentiments about the approximately 165 SHHS graduates. The class achieved a variety of academic, athletic and extracurricular successes, Cocolis said.
“They’ve been a joy to have around,” Cocolis said. “A lot of them are going to be good friends for a long time. I’ve just felt very close to them.”
While the seniors in SHHS are enjoying their final days as high school students, Cocolis is doing the same. He will retire after more than 40 years in education at the end of this school year.
The graduation ceremony, Cocolis said, will be all about the students.
“We want to recognize each and every one of them,” he said. “It’s about the kids that just made it. It’s about the students that excelled. It’s about the student looking forward to going to the military. It’s about all of them and they’ve all contributed in one way or another. It’s about all of their accomplishments and their dreams, and the experiences they had in high school. I think they had a really nice experience.”
The SHHS graduation ceremonies will start at 4 p.m. on May 19 in the high school gym. Valedictorians of the SHHS class of 2012, and there are several, will each give brief remarks and the students will collect their diplomas.
In Gardner, graduation ceremonies will start at 10 a.m. on May 19 at the District Athletic Complex – provided the weather is nice.
“It looks like the weather is going to be perfect,” Brady said. “If it moves indoors, we’ll notify everyone by 7 a.m. if it has to be moved inside.”
If the ceremony is moved inside seating will be limited.
GEHS graduates will hear remarks from senior Laura Weimeyer, and faculty speaker Walt Cochran.
The graduates will also be treated to Project Graduation at New Century Fieldhouse. Hosted by GEHS parents, the event takes place that night and concludes early Sunday morning.
“There’s going to be a lot of fun activities,” Brady said. “It’s a good safe place for them to be on graduation night.”

Gardner Edgerton
High School
10 a.m., May 19
USD 231 District Athletic Complex
Spring Hill
High School
4 p.m.
May 19
SHHS Gymnasium