Elly Byers

Elly Byers always welcomes a challenge; and as a high school senior days away from graduation, she’s ready for what lies ahead of her.

Byers, 17, is a Carter Lake native who attended Carter Lake Elementary School and Wilson Middle School before arriving at Thomas Jefferson High School, where she walked the halls for the last time as a student Wednesday. The T.J. Class of 2019 is set to cross the stage at the Mid-America Center this weekend, and Byers reflected on her time as a Yellow Jacket.

“It was fun,” she said. “I made a lot of friends, lost a few but made some new ones. I found a lot of cool teachers and got to know them more. I started [high school] super shy, but became pretty outgoing by the end of it.”

Byers is a hands-on person, and she used those skills to her advantage during high school. She has been an artist for as long as she can remember and she took almost every art class she could at T.J. She also helped build sets for the drama department’s productions. She plans on bringing her talents along to college next fall.

Byers is a recipient of the Pottawattamie Promise scholarship program, an Iowa West Foundation education initiative that gives area students a full-ride scholarship, complete with wrap-around services and campus housing, to Iowa Western Community College. Byers is going to study art, and she is ready for the collegiate stepping stone to her adult life. She said she’s ready to make it on her own out in the real world.

Byers reveled during the high points and made it through the lows during high school, and she said it’s going to feel great walking across the stage to receive her diploma this Saturday.

“I’m going to feel accomplished,” she said. “There were times when I didn’t think I was going to make it and felt like dropping out; but I powered through and here I am today.”

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