Young soldier receives early diploma at KHS


On Feb. 26, 2018, Jonathan Hendrix became the first to graduate from Kilgore High School as part of the new Gateway program.

With the new after-school program, Hendrix completed KHS graduation requirements and, at Monday’s school board meeting, was presented a high school diploma.

“At this time it is my honor and pleasure to certify that Jonathan Hendrix has met the requirements for participation in this ceremony as set forth by the Texas Education Agency and board of trustees of Kilgore Independent School District,” KHS Principal Charles Presley announced as he presented Hendrix’s diploma. Usually, the graduates move their tassel, but Hendrix asked to wear his Army uniform to the ceremony.

Hendrix, who completed U.S. Army boot camp over the summer, wanted to finish his requirements early so he could join his unit.

KHS Gateway Coordinator Greg Brown described Hendrix as a committed person who takes things seriously.

“He got in the Gateway program because he wanted to finish early, so he could go ahead and start serving our country,” he said.

The program allows students to complete school early, on a modified schedule or to return to school to finish their diploma.

One of the requirements in the Gateway program for students looking to join the workforce is a job shadow.

“Jonathan was able to get fantastic opportunity job shadowing from early June until early August; he was in boot camp,” Brown said. “From all of that, I’m sure they can train him better at that than any of us… Then Jonathan learned an adult lesson real quick this spring. He was gone for five days to training at Paris, outside of Texarkana, and he happened to be gone during the time that the government was shut down. He had told me ahead of time, so we excused his absence. Because the government was shut down, he didn’t get paid for the five days that he was supposed to get paid while he was on drill, so I counted that as community service.”

Presley said Hendrix should get his final orders either this month or next.

Hendrix will join his older brother who is also in the military, Brown added.

“This is the main reason we’re here, to help our students achieve a high school diploma,” KISD Superintendent Cara Cooke said.