A high school experience is elevated when a student has a special bond with a high school teacher.
For Colton Heffern, Iola High School valedictorian, he quickly found a mentor in agriculture teacher Charles Kerr.
“He always helped me get better at what I was working on and knows what we’re going through,” Heffern said.
Throughout high school Heffern took several classes from Kerr and was very active in FFA and 4-H. He serves as president for both organizations.
“I really liked going to all the FFA contests and events,” he said. “It taught me leadership skills, public speaking skills and I always met new people.”
Earlier this year Heffern was part of the Southwind 4-H Livestock teams that won national honors in Denver. In April he and his classmates took first in the Southeast District livestock judging competition. This month the team took second at the state competition.
When Heffern wasn’t busy in the respective organizations he suited up for the Iola Mustangs football team.
“I will definitely miss seeing all my friends every day and playing football on Friday nights,” he said.
A few of his friends will be joining him at the Manhattan Area Technical College next year. Heffern wants to become an electrical lineman and hopefully find work in the Iola area.
Heffern, the son of Chuck and Linda Heffern, has always taken his education seriously. He can thank his family for that.
“My older brothers and cousins all were valedictorians and I wanted to make sure I was one, too,” he said. “They set the bar high so I wanted to reach it.”
He was awarded the Edward Zahn FFA Scholarship, Built Ford Tough Scholarship and the Educational Excellence Award.
He knows he is in good company. Heffern said he is proud of his fellow classmates, too.
“I think our class is pretty solid all the way through and there are lots of kids who tried hard,” he said. “There were 30 some kids who had a 3.5 GPA. That’s amazing.”
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