All-GTNS: Conner McElderry
ELDON — Conner McElderry is giving his education at Cardinal Community School an A-.
"I believe there were some very good efforts by both the school system and myself," he said. "I remember a few times where I felt the teachers could have worked harder to make sure my classmates and I understood a subject.
"I can definitely remember different times, early in my high school career, where I didn't put forth my best effort and it cost me in my GPA," he continued. "At the end of the day, I believe I will have a pretty good start on life with education I received at Cardinal."
McElderry sees teachers caring for students as a strength in today's educational system.
"Every day I hear from at least one teacher or administrator: 'How are your classes?' or 'Are you getting your work done?'" he said. "To me, that shows that these people care.
"Another strength is the merging of technology into education," he continued. "With technology playing a more and more important role in education every day, there is no telling how far high school education can go. With the Internet at our fingertips, like it is today, there is so much information out there just waiting for us. We just have to go out and find it."
McElderry sees students who don't care about their educations as a weakness.
"I understand there will always be students like that, but to be able to take the educational system tot he next level, we need to find a way to get these students to want to care about their education," he said.
The graduating senior said the most important lesson he learned at school is not to be afraid of hard work.
"I learned this one the hard way," he confessed. "Early in my high school career, I was afraid to work hard because I had never needed to ... I was pretty good in everything I did whether it was academics, athletics or anything else. I soon figured out — after some pushing from my teachers — hard work would get me where I wanted to go."
McElderry said Barbara Meyer impacted his high school experience more than any other teacher.
"She was an old-school English teacher who first introduced me to the drama department as a sophomore. ... Some of my best high school memories come from rehearsals and post-play dinners. I am very grateful she introduced me to the world of high school plays and musicals."
One of McElderry's high school memories is when he shaved his head for "The Music Man." Mrs. Meyer had asked if it was a possibility, but McElderry was hesitant. Then, the day of the show, without telling anyone, he let another cast member shave his hair.
"The best part of the night was seeing my parents' reaction ... they were completely speechless," he recalled.
McElderry's parents were influential in his life.
"They were always there when I had a problem, congratulated me when needed and put me back in place when I was bring an idiot," he said. "I truly appreciate all they have done for me."
His advice for incoming freshmen is: "Have fun, don't be afraid to make mistakes, and work hard."