2021 Early Graduating Seniors: Peace Out Maize South

With the last day of the first semester this week, Maize South High seniors reflect on what should have been their best year while saying goodbye to their fellow Mavericks.


Photo by OneMa1ze Broadcasting

Senior Dakota Crane anchors for The OneMa1ze Broadcasting team for the 2020 Halloween episode. The OneMa1ze Show earned an All-Kansas award with Crane as a lead anchor for the show last school year.

Piper Pinnetti, Editor-In-Chief

A year ago, Maize South High’s 2020 seniors were saddened when their senior year adventures were cut short by the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Now, a majority of the 2021 graduating seniors struggle with the constant change of school schedule, learning through a Zoom call while trying to soak up as many senior year experiences and the alternate reality of their final year in school.

However, a handful of students are taking a different path with the new year and graduating early to start their adult lives prior to walking across the graduation stage.

Senior Dakota Crane is finishing his last high school days in the Hybrid schedule planning out the last details of his post-high school plans focusing on his well-being and mental health.

“After high school I plan to continue my grind,” Crane said, “I want to continue to grow as a person and in every single area of my life. My main goals are to be happy with myself because if you’re not happy with yourself what’s the point of doing anything.”

Crane’s motivation is the thought of what he can accomplish if he focuses on three specific things: mental health, personal and financial growth. With the realization of what wealth can do for a person, Crane has made a unique to-do list within the next few months of 2021.

“I currently invest in the stock market and am working on other investments,” Crane said, “I want to build a lot of wealth so I can do something major for mental health. Mental health is a huge problem and I want to do what I can to bring awareness to it.”

Graduating early has given Crane the opportunity to grow as an individual beyond Kansas and explore what the world has to offer. High school will be a matter of the past after this week, Crane simply “cannot wait to get out of high school. School puts so much stress on so many different areas of my life.” 

When online schooling through Zoom calls was the best way to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus during the first semester, Anders Kelly decided it was in his best interest to start his adult life and graduate early.

With the changes in Maize South’s school schedule, Kelly saw his stress increase with new, unforeseen challenges in his own school schedule. 

“I am a visual learner so all the extra things I have to do during Zoom calls or the online assignments we do is just not what I was meant to do,” Kelly said. 

The Hybrid schedule has allowed Kelly to decide when he wants to do his school work and allows him to have more work hours. However, the Black and Gold schedule within the Hybrid model prevents Kelly from seeing a majority of his friends, taking away the social interaction that’s incredibly important to seniors in their final year.

With the fun sucked out of the final year of his high school career, Kelly feels defeated with what he thought his senior year was going to look like compared to the reality of the situation.

“Very disappointed. My expectation was to always be with my friends, going to parties and celebrating life, but instead I am stuck behind a computer screen most of the time and have to be cautious about if I washed my hands or have a mask,” said Kelly.

Despite a rough senior year, Kelly is anxious about starting his adult life. After early graduation, Kelly plans to work plenty of hours and save money for when he begins his college life during the fall. He plans on becoming a teacher in the special education department after college.


Madeline Wilkinson celebrates senior night Friday, Sept. 4 with her family on the track at the Maize South opening football game against Great Bend. Wilkinson has been involved in Broadcasting and Health Science courses while at Maize South.

For graduate Madeline Wilkinson, her post-high school plans have been mapped out for months. After graduation, Wilkinson will be starting on her new Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) job to begin her savings for college. 

This intro position will allow her to get more experience in the medical field while also taking baby steps from high school to the college lifestyle. 

It has been a little difficult coming to terms that I am done with high school forever, especially since I barely got a normal senior year,” Wilkinson said, “but I am happy to get started on my adult life.”

Like a majority of the student population, Wilkinson has noticed a decline in her motivation after being allowed to sleep in more often, turn in some assignments late, and even receiving basic participation points just for being present in a Zoom call.

In the beginning, I would’ve rather had a full school schedule, but now, my motivation and drive has gone way down and I’ve gotten pretty lazy,” Wilkinson said, “but I’m motivated because I want to finish off my high school career strong and make sure I know how to be motivated because it will be even harder in college. 

While looking back at her last semester as a Maverick, Wilkinson is proud of herself for working hard to get through the bumpy roads to her next destination in life. 

“People were not kidding when they said it will fly by,” Wilkinson said.
“There’s not much time until graduation so make the most of it.”