By Michael Buhler
When Devon Allen graduated as Argonia High School’s valedictorian earlier this month, she became the latest member of her family to graduate at or right next to the top of her class.
Allen is the sixth member of her family to graduate as a valedictorian or salutatorian from a Sumner County high school, a tradition that began in the 1930s when her grandfather, Lawrence Hemberger, graduated as Milan High School’s salutatorian.
But it doesn’t end there. Allen’s mother, Brenda (Hemberger) Allen, was valedictorian at Conway Springs High School in 1973, then Brenda’s children continued the tradition. Oldest son Jake was Argonia’s valedictorian in 2004 and son Bryce was in 2007. Son No. 3, Marcus, was salutatorian at AHS in 2009, followed by Devon this year.
“I’m really proud to be part of it,” Devon said. “It made me work harder and be more dedicated at what I did to keep the tradition going.”
Graduating at the top of her class has been on Devon’s goals list since she was in third grade and saw her oldest brother, Jake, graduate No. 1 at Argonia.
“Everyone was really proud of him,” Devon said, “and I wanted to give my family another reason to be proud of me as well.”
Throughout high school, Devon took a rugged load of classes – and that was in addition to playing three sports at Argonia.
“I took as many college classes as I could – some to be valedictorian and some to get college credit,” Devon said. “I finished this year with 24 college credits.”
In addition to her work in the classroom, Devon was a member of the Lady Raiders’ State championship basketball team in 2011, was a starter on Argonia’s State runner-up volleyball team last fall and wrapped up her high school career by competing in the javelin at the State track meet in Wichita last weekend.
Now that she is done with high school, Devon is planning to attend Fort Hays State University starting this fall and major in speech pathology. However, Devon still is pleased with her accomplishments at Argonia High School.
“It was very good,” Devon said. “Everyone says I’m exactly like my mom and I’m going to end up like her. This is another way of being like her.”