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5-30-23 — Step Up Graduates Celebrate Milestone

May 30, 2023 ~ On May 17, the Step Up adult diploma-completion program celebrated its 22nd annual commencement by graduating 47 students, which is one of the larger classes in recent memory. Graduates ranged from ages 19 to 56 and came from multiple Kansas communities as far west as Salina.

The outdoor commencement was held at the Mill Creek Campus, where the Step Up staff and Mill Creek administrators were joined by Superintendent Dr. Brent Yeager and board of education members for the presentation of diplomas.

Members of the Olathe North Chamber Strings accompanied trumpet soloist Phillip Holmes (an Olathe schools band teacher) playing the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” march. An Olathe South High School vocal quartet sang the National Anthem.

One of this year’s Step Up graduates, Kerri Mashburn, had her son, John Balleta, graduate from Step Up in 2017, and now it was her turn. Now an Olathe resident for decades, she had originally been in the East Meadow (NY) High School class of 1985.

“It took me 38 years to be here today,” Mashburn said. “Thank you for giving me the second chance of coming back here and doing it again.”

Step Up is a self-paced online program that is aligned with state curriculum standards. Kansas adults (age 18 and older) may enroll for free; graduates receive regular Olathe Public School diplomas. Visit the Step Up website for more information or to enroll.