Graduating Hillcrest seniors take challenges in stride

Katelyn Morgan and Derek Egbert Photographer Pat Sutphin /, Date 5/21/2014, Lens 70, ISO 2500, FStop {fstop}, Shutter 1/50, Aperature {aperature},

EDITORS NOTE: This is the fourth of eight articles previewing soon-to-be graduates from the Post Register’s coverage area.

Hillcrest High School will graduate 299 students at its 7 p.m. June 4 commencement, which will be held in the school auditorium.

The graduation ceremony is a ticketed event and seating is limited. For information about tickets or the graduation ceremony, call 525-4429.

Following are profiles of two graduating seniors handpicked by school administrators.

Katelyn Morgan

Each day in class, Katelyn Morgan struggles to understand her teachers at Hillcrest High School. It’s not because Morgan doesn’t pay attention. Rather, it’s due to the way her brain processes new information.

The 18-year-old senior has auditory processing disorder, which affects the way her brain receives, processes and remembers information, making it difficult for her to understand instructions from teachers or to recall what she has learned.

“I have a hard time when it comes to taking tests,” Morgan said. “I second guess myself a lot during tests because I know I have this problem with understanding things. I’ll put down an answer, then think, ‘Oh, I didn’t understand that correctly,’ and change it. Then I’ll doubt that answer, too.”

To combat the disorder, Morgan said she puts in extra time outside of class in order to understand the topics.

“I’ll sit down and study for two or three hours a night,” Morgan said. “I try to make sure I know the information as well as I can. I’ll go in and talk to the teachers to make sure I understand things correctly.”

Throughout her years in school, Morgan said she’s tried to look on the bright side.

“I try to stay positive and remind myself that I’ll get through this,” she said. “If I let myself get discouraged, I know my work ethic will go downhill and everything’s going to get worse.”

School counselor Mike Corbett said Morgan has persevered through a difficult situation.

“She’s gone through high school with good grades, despite having this auditory processing disorder,” Corbett said. “I’ve seen other students who have had the same thing barely get by in class, or drop out of school completely. But Katelyn never gives in.”

After graduation, Morgan plans to attend Brigham Young University-Idaho, where she will pursue a degree in nursing.

While things are more difficult for Morgan, Corbett is confident she will be successful in her future endeavors.

“I’ve seen lots of students who look for the easy way out,” Corbett said. “They’ll look for excuses and take the easy path no matter what. Katelyn is the complete opposite of that. She’ll look at a challenge and say, ‘This is how I’m going to get past it, this is what I’m going to do.’”

Derek Egbert

English is not an easy subject for Derek Egbert. He’s dealing with several learning disorders that affect his reading, writing and comprehension abilities.

“It’s hard for me to catch onto things sometimes,” Egbert said. “Reading, writing — pretty much everything in English class is difficult for me to get. I always get the concepts, but sometimes it takes longer for me to get it.”

In order to make sure he succeeds in school, Egbert spends time working with teachers outside of class. He also gets plenty of support from his family.

Egbert has four older siblings and one younger brother. The 18-year-old will be the first of his siblings to graduate from high school.

This year, Egbert was a student in Shauna Crabtree’s English class

Crabtree is one of his favorite teachers. She always has been understanding and willing to work with him on assignments and projects., he said

“Derek and I have worked together to help him succeed,” Crabtree said. “He always has a great attitude, even if he’s struggling with something, he can stay positive about things and that really makes a difference.”

Egbert does whatever it takes to complete his assignments, she said.

“He really is a great student,” she said. “You can see the amount of work he puts into assignments and see that he wants to do well.”

Sometimes, when a big assignment is coming up, Egbert said the most challenging part is getting started.

“I get overwhelmed,” Egbert said. “I tend to doubt myself sometimes. I’ll doubt that I’ll get the answer right or even that I’ll get things done. I’ve found, though, once I start working on something, things just come together.”

After graduation, Egbert plans to work for a few months and then embark on a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Receiving his high school diploma means a lot to Egbert and his family.

“I’m a little sad about graduating, because it’s going to mean saying goodbye to people that I’ve known for years,” Egbert said. “But it’s going to be really cool. It means a lot to me, especially since I’ll be the first Egbert to graduate.”