Senior parents reflect on the last four years


Rylee Bentley, BHS Journalism

The final year is a major achievement and a significant occasion for seniors. But it is not only the seniors who have feelings about it, the parents are going through a lot of emotions of the experience, as well. Some parents were asked how they are feeling about their graduating seniors.


Jilly Michael, parent of senior Jaiden Michael

 “My feelings are all over the place. I feel anxious and excited, but most of all proud! There were many ups and downs, but the ups outweigh everything. There are so many memories; the one that stands out the most is Jaiden putting in the work to achieve his goals of being a wrestler state qualifier. I know he could do it, but watching him work for four years and him finally being able to achieve that goal is a memory I will never forget. I am most excited to see him grow. He is already such a genuinely good person and I am thrilled to see how he will continue to change the lives of others. I am not nervous about being able to see him every single day and knowing he is home and safe every night. Jaiden has had so many positive influences at BHS, but one person, in particular, has changed his life. Kit Harris has been such a positive influence and force in Jaiden’s life. Not only a coach, teacher, and mentor. I can honestly say that I don’t think Jaiden would be the person he is today without Kit Harris. I can not wait to see what Jaiden does in the future.”


Christi Darnell, parent of senior Samuel Darnell 

“I found myself with mixed emotions about this big transition into another stage of his life. I am excited for him and all the new experiences that await him. That said, as I reflect on all the fun we had while he was growing up it is hard to not yearn for those days past and wish that they could be relieved again. Samuel is following in my footsteps in some ways because he is pursuing additional education at Pittsburg State University. It is in Southeast Kansas and that is where I grew up so he will be in the same part where I was from. I have so many wonderful memories of Samuel’s high school experiences, starting from watching all his sports (football, basketball, baseball, golf) I have really enjoyed. However, my favorite memories include his friends coming over and listening to their laughter, and witnessing all the fun he had together. I also will treasure the late-night talks with him. I am excited to see him pursue at Pitt State. I am nervous he is going somewhere he may not know anyone. Samuel loves his friends and teachers in Baldwin City and has known them his whole life. It will be a big change to go somewhere no one knows him. All of the teachers, coaches, administrators, and support staff have had an impact on Samuel. I appreciate all the effort and time they have invested in him. There are no words that fully express my appreciation. They know who they are.”


Kisa Miller, parent of senior Kate Nicholus

“Kate is my youngest child, so her high school graduation feels a bit overwhelming. All of my kids have been so active in their high school activities over the years that I am not sure what I am going to do with my time! I am very proud of Kate and all her accomplishments and I am excited about her future, but I am feeling pretty sad that my last one is leaving the nest. I can’t say her high school experience has been the best simply due to COVID. She and all of her classmates miss so much of some really important developmental years. I think he has made the best of it, but it certainly wasn’t a typical high school experience. Yes! Kate is heading to KU just like I did after high school. My favorite memory is of Kate and her teammates winning her state cheer championship. I am excited for Kate to get the experiences at KU and Lawrence Kansas. Patty Lenning, her cheer coach. Reggie Harris, her counselor. Kit Harris, one of her favorite sponsors.”


Darren Griffith, parent of senior Kaleigh Griffith

“Right now Kaleigh’s mom and I are feeling happy, stressed, and extremely sad. We have caught ourselves looking through her baby pictures and wondering where the time has gone. We are excited for her to get to experience the college, as they are the best years, but in the end, we are sad that she will be out of the house. Cherish every moment your kids are young and in your house! Kaleigh has had such a great experience at Baldwin High School. She has always had opportunities to be active and loves the friends she has made along the way. We are happy with our choice to raise our family in Baldwin. Kaleigh loved performing in the school musical. Maybe in the end, we just knew that she had an amazing experience at Baldwin High School and that she made memories of her lifetime. We are excited for her to grow into a great young adult. She will have experiences in college that will solidify who she will become in life. We are nervous about a lot of things! It’s hard not being close every day, but in the end, we did the best we could as parents to make sure she is ready to handle any hardships [s that come her way. Mike and Angie Spielman have had a big impact on her life. They have taught Kaleigh too many life lessons to count. We owe them so much for being the exact type of role models you would want for your kids. Mike and Angie at Baldwin High and we are forever indebted to them for their role in Kaleigh’s young life.”


Donald Blanchat, parent of senior Makena Blanchat

“My feelings are mixed. I am excited for Makeena to start her new journey but at the same time, sad that she won’t be around as much. How could her high school experience not be positive with her dad being her favorite teacher. In a way she is following in our footsteps, Makennas mom played soccer at Allen and I played Basketball there also. She has had a lot of great people that have influenced her. She loved her time at Baldwin High School. Her coaches had the most influence on her including Coach Spielman, Coach Ising, and Coach Toot.”


Katie Fender, parent of Audrey Darnell

“Graduating is a bittersweet feeling for me. I am so proud to have raised independent women, but sad they are leaving. I have to remind myself this is what I have been teaching them, to do their entire life. They are not following in my footsteps. The girls are so much smarter than I ever was and determined to follow their dreams. The girls have met so many friends and teachers that they all influenced who they are today. Our family would not be the same if they didn’t make the friendships and relationships with all their coaches, teachers, and students.