South Barber graduates give tribute to classmate Jarrett Koblitz


Meagan Henry

SOUTH BARBER GRADUATING CLASS OF 2019 – Back row: ReAnna Dunlap, Karlissa Little, Brianna Duncan, Taylor Pollock, Morgan Polson, Kathleen Martin, Bryn Rathgeber, Savannah Hughbanks, Haylie Drake, Katie Holcomb, Destiny Lyons; Front row: Cole Coggins, JT Farney, Cody Jahay, Nick Malone, Neal Gugelmeyer, Brandon Baysinger, Isaac Doherty.

As the South Barber Class of 2019 held commencement Saturday afternoon, 18 students graduated. However, there was one honorary graduate who "is in the heart of each classmate here," as classmate and Salutatorian Taylor Pollock said in her address at graduation.

She was referring to Jarrett Levi Koblitz who has a terminal illness known as Hurler's Syndrome. "Jarrett has always had a way of bringing joy, love and humor to everyone." "Who could forget his tricycle with the bell riding down the hall?" She told funny stories about Jarrett, how he referred to himself as a "school dropout" when his illness made him no longer able to attend school. His classmates visited him at his home numerous times for fun activities like pumpkin carving.

"One thing is for sure, he captured your heart. Jarrett, we are so happy you are an honorary graduate today. You will always be a member of the South Barber Class of 2019. We love you!"

Speaking to her classmates, Pollock advised them to "Try new things. Don't get settled into your comfort zone. Accept the fact that you will fail, but it is what you do after these failures that define you." She said, "Most importantly take risks."

Mr. Shaffer also said kind words about Jarrett and held up an honorary diploma for him. With emotion in his voice, the principal had the crowd at graduation turn and wave tot a live stream camera at their home to Jarrett and his parents Justin and Shelly Koblitz and sisters Morgan and Paige. There was hardly a dry eye in the gymnasium.

Valedictorian and Class President Speak

Valedictorian Savannah Hughbanks said, "All changes have led us to today – our high school graduation. Life has its challenges. It tests us to our limits, but each test makes us a much better version of ourselves."

Hughbanks reminds her classmates "how thankful we should be" to the community, parents, family and friends for their support. She said, "You need to create a vision" which takes "determination – a set goal."

She found a quote to share, "Your life is your story, and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential." She concluded, "Be the change you want to be."

Class President Brandon Baysinger likes a quote that says, "You will find it necessary to let things go; simply for the reason they are heavy. So let them go . . . let go of them. I tie no weight to my ankles." He said, "Remember the positive and be proud of all you've accomplished, but don't let this be your peak, just the start of your climb. "

Baysinger thanked "everyone who has helped us get to this point. "I want to thank Mrs. Henry especially. She was always there when any of us needed her. She was the teacher that just knew you were having a bad day and helped you get through it. She went out of her way to make sure we succeeded, not only in her class, but in life in general. She might just be the reason I'm actually going somewhere after high school."

He concluded his remarks with, "Let them know you came from a small town in Kansas, and be proud of that. Be phenomenal or be forgotten."

Yvonne Miller

South Barber High School Class of 2019 Salutatorian is Taylor Pollock (left) and Valedictorian is Savannah Hughbanks.


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