Butler Celebrates the Graduation of 95 High School Students from the Early College Academy

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EL DORADO, Kan. – There are many great reasons for a high school student to enroll in Butler’s Early College Academy.   For Andover student Jared McDavitt, the primary motivator was the ability to focus his education on his future career path.   

McDavitt said, “Entering into the Academy allowed for me to pursue and improve on my education more selectively and strive for intellectual growth in areas I wanted to focus on – particularly in the health field.”  

The program has helped McDavitt solidify his future career goals as an emergency medicine physician, while getting a jumpstart on the premed route.   

“My experience with the Butler program has definitely been an overall benefit to not only my educational career, but also my job insight, as well.  Being able to learn in class, shadow, and be exposed to applicable information has done wonders in affirming my life goals.  Furthermore, I was able to meet many professors who were able to give their own insights and had experience in our interests.  This made the program more than just a government-subsidized program, but a mentoring opportunity, as well.” 

McDavitt also values the bonds he formed through the Academy.   

“Studying with like-minded cohort members gave a sense of respect and trust that no high school can replicate, and I will value it forever,” he stated.  

On Saturday, May 8, administration, faculty, staff and students gathered to celebrate the hard work and remarkable achievement of Jared and the 94 other high school seniors who are graduating the Academy with their associate degree in 10 different fields.  Board of Trustees member Mary Martha Good addressed the crowd first, acknowledging the late nights and long hours the students had put in. 

“Your tenacity is remarkable, your vision is enviable, and your ability to achieve is outstanding,” said Good. 

Butler President Dr. Kim Krull spoke next.  In addition to applauding the students on their unique accomplishment attained while dealing with the COVID pandemic, Dr. Krull also pointed out the huge cost savings for the students compared to two years’ average expense at a 4-year public institution in Kansas.   

 “This collective group of 95 graduates from our Early College Academy, over the last two years, has saved over $1.5 million in educational costs, and that is huge,” said Krull. 

There was a consistent theme woven throughout the speeches of the students who addressed the crowd – that while the task at times seemed overwhelming, the caring and guidance of the faculty and staff as well as the support of their fellow cohorts made their achievements possible.   

Rose Hill Academy student Leilani Briggs spoke of her struggle with time management, resulting in plummeting grades and motivation.  She attributed the aid of her counselor, Miss Hoefer and math instructor, Professor Fiscus with helping her turn her life and grades around.   

“With this, I became a straight-A student with the drive to continue going to college for marketing and business,” Briggs attested.   

Andover Academy student Tim Franks remarked, “Today I’m a different person than the school-oriented individual who joined Butler two years ago.  My time at Butler has taught me much more than business, it has helped me connect with people.”  

Kayleigh Bruce, a student in the Culinary Pathway program, emphasized the power of these connections.  Said Bruce, “We grew, and we grew together.  We learned about teamwork and how to never leave anybody behind.”  

Professor Bruce Fiscus spoke on behalf of the faculty and encouraged the students to continue to step out of their comfort zones:  “I never would have found my passion for teaching without stepping outside of my comfort zone.  By pushing yourself, you will continue your journey as lifelong learners, and through that, you will continue to grow.”   

After sharing some advice from the faculty, Professor Fiscus left the students with one final challenge:   “Five years from now, take the time to go back and thank one or more of the people that have been a positive influence in your 20+ year journey.  It doesn’t matter whether you are already into your career, still in school or trying to find your way, it’s always good to reflect on the positive things and people that have crossed your path.” 

The 2021 Early College Academy graduates are listed below: 


  • Mariam Alky- Andover eCademy (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Taylor Bessent- Circle High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Tim Franks- Home School (Business Pathway) 

  • Annabelle Hardy- Andover eCademy (Aviation Pathway) 

  • Katelyn Hedger- Andover Central High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Abigayle Jackson- Andover Central High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Ryli Nguyen- Andover High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Madalyn Rodehorst- Andover Central High School (Humanities Pathway) 


  • Kayleigh Bruce- Bluestem High School (Culinary Arts Pathway)  

  • Nolan Bryan-Augusta High School (Engineering Pathway) 

  • Lillianne Gash- Douglass High School (Business Pathway) 

  • Tiffany Hilton-Augusta High School (Education Pathway) 

  • Trenton Parsons- Augusta High School (Engineering Pathway) 

  • Robert Schoenthaler- Circle High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Hallie Sims- Andover eCademy (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Austin Taylor- Circle High School (Welding Pathway) 

Bel Aire 


  • Lauren Amend- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway)  

  • Kayla Balla- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway)  

  • Vanessa Bathoummy- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Teyenne Beedy- Rose Hill High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Katelyn Boales- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Leilani Briggs- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Jace Butcher- Douglass High School (Cyber Security Pathway) 

  • Caleb Carter- Derby High School (Cyber Security Pathway) 

  • Syrah Caughron-Derby High School (Education Pathway)  

  • Kyana Duong-Derby High School (Culinary Arts Pathway) 

  • MaKayla Emberson- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Andrew Enslinger- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway)  

  • Marjorie Garinger- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Wyatt King- Derby High School (Education Pathway)  

  • Rylee Moon- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Isabelle Peck- Derby High School (Business Pathway)  

  • Jennivy Phu- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Kaylee Randolph- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Grace Reich- Derby High School (Cyber Security Pathway) 

  • Tori Rhynard- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway)  

  • Alexis Sutton- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway)  

  • Michaela Sutton- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Braden Sweet- Home School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Merven Thomas- Derby High School (Cyber Security Pathway) 

  • Jonathan Thompson- Derby High School (Cyber Security Pathway)   

  • Giselle Vielmas- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Danielle Wheeler- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Kylie Winkle- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway) 


  • David Arevalo- Douglass High School (Business Pathway) 

  • Savannah Edmonds- Douglass High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Hunter Glaves- Douglass High School (Engineering Pathway) 

  • Kiahna Jones- Douglass High School (Business Pathway) 

  • Emily Norton- Douglass High School (Health Science Pathway) 

El Dorado  

  • Maggie Chen- Circle High School (Business Pathway) 

  • Alex Craig- El Dorado High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Daisee Kohman- El Dorado High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Lauren Shryock- Circle High School (Health Science Pathway)  

  • Dez Stitt- El Dorado High School (Welding Pathway)  



  • Haley Leiker- Mulvane High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Ethan McElravy- Mulvane High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Sabrina Schmitz- Mulvane High School (Humanities Pathway)  

  • Rachael Sweeney- Mulvane High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Michael Wilson- Mulvane High School (Humanities Pathway)  


Rose Hill  

  • Abby Alderson- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Emily Boyle- Rose Hill High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Aislin Burnison- Rose Hill High School (Humanities Pathway) 

  • Nataile Eaton- Rose Hill High School (Engineering Pathway) 

  • Ty Foster- Rose Hill High School (Game and Simulation Pathway) 


  • Austin Chitanavong- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • McKenzy Chu- Derby High school (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Adisyn Cornali- Circle High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Hope Ferrante- Derby High School (Education Pathway) 

  • Kaelyn Godfrey- Valley Center High School (Game and Simulation Pathway)  

  • Maryssa Gutierrez- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Leilani Hall- Home School (Business Pathway) 

  • Alexis Jewell- Rose Hill High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Tristen Ketcham- Derby High School (Business Pathway) 

  • Kenza Labidi- Andover High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Kyle Liu- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Madison Loyle- Andover High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Jared McDavitt- Andover High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Noah McIntosh- Andover Central High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Audrey McLemore, (Business Pathway) 

  • Raegan Stiger- Derby High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Meri Abigail Vaughn- Rose Hill High School (Health Science Pathway) 

  • Earnest Wash- Derby High School (Humanities Pathway) 

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About Post Author

Professor Cram

Professor Lawrence Cram is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University working in the Department of Applied Mathematics. His interests include astronomy, mathematics, engineering, computing, and physics. Due to his extensive expertise, professor Cram has worked as a Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney and as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at ANU during 2004-2012. In 2013, he retired as a Master, University House and Graduate House. In January 2014, he was appointed as an acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Charles Darwin University. Professor Cram is also a Fellow at the Royal Astronomical Society and the Australian Institute of Physics.
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