Enjoying the annual Senior Tea hosted by the Women's Service Organization in Panora and honoring Panorama senior girls and their guests are (back to front) Nicole Rolfes and mom Paula, Jensen Wilke and mom Kendra. KC Gafkjen, a 2016 Panorama high school graduate, was the guest speaker for the Women's Service Organization's annual Senior Tea at the Church of Brethren in Panora. Twenty-three Panorama seniors, along with their mothers, grandmothers and special guests attended the event. Gafkjen, now a sophomore at the University of Northern Iowa studying Family Services, encouraged the seniors to embrace change as they leave high school. Four generations attending the Panorama Girls Senior Tea are (from left) Francis VanCleave, great-grandmother, Bonnie VanCleave, grandmother, Sunni Lee, mother, and Mary Lee, senior daughter. Panorama senior girls and their guests enjoy tea and desserts during the annual Senior Tea hosted by the Women's Service Organization (WSO) on April 18 at Church of the Brethern in Panora. Pictured are (clockwise) Becky Twigg, Tracie Prince, senior Kellie Prince, Diane Meinecke, Karen Hoffman, Brianna Hoffman, Morgan Twigg, Kathy Twigg. Enjoying tea and desserts at the girls senior tea are (clockwise) Sami Flanery, Peggy Kemble, Stacy Kemble, Devyn Kemble, Hope Wilderman, Angie Wilderman, and Sheila Walker. Panorama senior Madi Fear poses for a photo with her mom, Mindy, during the Senior Girls Tea on April 19. Panorama senior girls at the annual Senior Tea hosted by the Women's Serivce Organization (WSO) are (front row, from left) Madi Fear, Morgan Twigg, Bri Hoffman, Lexi VanWinkle, Hope Wilderman, Carson Fisher, Lauren McClathey, Bailey Christofferson, Jade Harwell, Kendra Felder, (back row) Maddie Knapp, Jensen WIlke, Mryia Boodry, Cierra Wright, Kellie Prince, Nicole Rolfes, Mary Lee, Katy Bassatt, Cameron Laughery, Sami Flanery, Devyn Kemble.

‘Change is inevitable, embrace it’

Panorama girls enjoy annual Senior Tea

    It's that time of year again when seniors begin entertaining thoughts of graduation and life after high school. The Women’s Service Organization (WSO) in Panora recognized that fact in their annual event to help Panorama high school senior girls prepare for the transition. 

The WSO, a group that has continued to work for the community for 46 years, has hosted their annual Senior Tea for all interested Panorama senior girls for 19 years. The seniors embrace the event by inviting their mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers to attend with them. 

Twenty-one senior girls attended this year’s event held at the Church of the Brethren in Panora, each of them introducing themselves and their invited guests. Several of them have plans to study in college, while others aren’t sure what their futures hold. 

“It’s all okay,” said Maureen Lubeck, a member of the WSO, who welcomed the girls. “I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.” 

Lubeck introduced the day’s speaker, KC Gafkjen, a Panorama high school graduate who is now a sophomore at the University of Northern Iowa. Gafkjen is studying a Bachelors in Family Services and involved in several organizations on the Cedar Falls campus, including Chi Alpha Campus Ministry, Dance marathon, and Panther Mayhem. She volunteers for the Salvation Army. 

“If the future scares you, trust me, I’ve been there,” Gafkjen told the seniors. “Being a girl who loved high school, I wanted to stay here as long as I could. It didn’t really hit me until the fall.” 

She encouraged the girls to spend time with their best friends, their parents, their siblings. 

“It won’t be long and you’ll be in a 10 by 10 cube with new experiences, challenges and opportunities,” she said. 

She touched on roommate drama and how it can be hard to spend that much time with a person in a small dorm room. Gafkjen said when she left high school she planned to be an elementary teacher, but soon found at the age of 18, she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. 

She shared a slide on the video screen that said, “I’m 100 percent certain that I’m 0 percent sure of what I’m going to do.” 

She encouraged those attending college, and those headed into different avenues after high school, to get to know their professors and to get involved in things. 

“That’s the most important thing you can do,” she said. 

In college, Gafkjen says, you get to do life every day. 

“I promise you you’ll make friends you feel like you’ve been friends with forever,” she said. “You’ll probably become a different person, and that’s okay.” 

Change is inevitable, embrace it, she said.

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