Chloe Hanigan, of Garden City, and Shayden Hanes, of Elkhart, both have hearty resumes, made full with academic achievements and extracurricular leadership roles.
But Hanigan and Hanes, two high school seniors set to graduate, are both clearly more than a list of accomplishments.
Still, it's worth going through their lists, anyway.
Hanigan is a National Merit finalist and co-editor-in-chief and opinion page editor of Garden City High School’s Sugar Beet newspaper, a member of the National Honor Society and Hispanic Honor Society. She ran track earlier in her high school career and has been a dancer since she was 3. She’s taught dance classes at Steps Dance School for four years, volunteered at the LiveWell Finney County Health Coalition and Genesis Family Health.
Hanes is an avid Elkhart High School Key Club officer, state Key Club board member, National Honor Society officer and pep band member. She’s worked at her dad’s company, Elkhart’s Heartland Tri-State Bank, for going on four summers, and was involved in theater, basketball, volleyball and the swim team.
Each also can add The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Kansas All-State Academic Team to their list of honors. More on the all-state team can be found inside on Pages A2 and A5 of Sunday's Hutchinson News.
“It’s not easy. I sacrifice sleep at lot,” Hanes said.
According to her teachers, and Hanigan herself, she’s become more confident in the past two years, in part because of her articles frequently bursting off the opinion page of the Sugar Beet.
In her early months at the paper, Hanigan hated doing interviews because she didn’t want to talk to people. The opinion page was a safer alternative — you write alone and then people would read and relate to what she wrote. She wrote about the 2016 election when she was a sophomore, and advocated, with support, that teenagers needed more sleep when the high school schedule set an earlier start time.
The pieces, said Sugar Beet instructor Brian Nelson, were well-rounded and knowledgeable, and show she understands what’s going on in the world.
Today, Hanigan’s less wary of talking to people, but she hasn’t forgotten what it felt like. Her writing career will likely end with the Sugar Beet, as she sees it, but she still wants to voice what she thinks.
“I was the one who didn’t like to talk to people, and there’s lots of people like that out there. So, they need someone to stand up for them,” Hanigan said.
And Hanigan also stands out as someone who can make her own opportunities, said her GCHS counselor, Emily Hamlin. Hanigan said she enrolled in online college courses and prestigious summer programs out of town when she felt like her local science education options were limited.
Before learning she was a National Merit semifinalist, she began filling out the finalist paperwork, just in case, Hamlin said. Once, on a Friday afternoon, when the campus sat deserted, Hamlin stumbled on Hanigan and her younger sister pouring over microscopes in the GCHS library, working on a project not due for months. Hamlin said Hanigan is smart, humble, thoughtful and compassionate, but on top of that she is true to her word and her work. If she says she will do something, it’s not just lip service, she said. Hanigan does it.
She’s going to the University of Kansas in the fall to try her hand at the pre-med track. She thinks she wants to be a doctor. But mostly, she wants to reunite and continue to have fun with some of her closest friends, and also meet new people with different perspectives and experience new things.
Hanes is fast-talking and high-energy. Her parents always set an example of hard work, but it’s come naturally to her, she said. When she was in eighth grade, she started a lawn-mowing business in order to begin saving up for a car. It was the first time she really took ownership of a project on her own, she said. Today, it’s still going — a partnership between her, her siblings and her dad. When she heads off to college, her siblings will keep it running.
It wouldn’t be the last time she created, or helped create, something with an impact.
The first half of Hanes’ junior year was dominated by a persisting case of mono, when that kept her out of school for 32 days and in and out of hospitals with seizures for three to four months. The cause might have been involvement overload, she said, and the result was months of deep-set anger, outbursts and depression as she watched the effect the situation had on her and her family. She was mad it was happening, mad she couldn’t get over it.
Eventually, it did pass. And later, Hanes and two other students on the state Key Club board created a workshop on mental health, a varied discussion based on their distinct, individual problems. They went to Wichita and then Chicago, Hanes said. They shared their stories and encouraged people to speak up about their struggles, and people listened, she said. Several came up afterwards to say the program resonated.
“Just realizing the world is so much bigger than your own problems. There’s so many other people that need help, and that it’s more important to help others than be so focused solely on yourself. It’s important to kind of look up and look at the community around you and see what you can do to help make a difference, especially when that community has given you so much,” Hanes said.
Next year, she’ll go to Washburn University and participate in the school’s leadership institute. She said she’ll probably major in business and minor in political science and leadership, laying the groundwork for her plan to be a lobbyist for banking and advocate against laws that would harm rural community banks. But she’s still weighing options.
Contact Amber Friend at firstname.lastname@example.org.