‘A Great Fit’: How Walnut Creek Campus Helped This Senior Prepare For His Future (05/24/21)
May 24, 2021 | Kendell Cropp can already feel the excitement when he thinks about what it will be like walking across the Staplin Performing Arts Center stage with a high school diploma in hand.
“It’s going to be crazy,” Cropp said. “Walnut Creek helped me realize I can do a lot more.”
On Thursday, May 27, Cropp and his classmates will officially become the Class of 2021 at Walnut Creek Campus. Walnut Creek, which is the West Des Moines Community Schools’ (WDMCS) alternative high school, prides itself for its mission to inspire growth and connections through personalized education.
And that’s exactly what drew Cropp into joining the Walnut Creek family.
At first, when Cropp opted to leave Valley Southwoods Freshman High School about three-fourths of the way into his freshman year, he knew very little about Walnut Creek. Once Cropp learned more about it, he figured out how the school’s culture and loyal staff would help him get where he wanted to be.
“Walnut Creek was a great fit because it’s a self-placed pace and that helped me learn better,” he said.
Walnut Creek Principal Kim Davis, Ed.D., called Cropp “a very resilient young man.”
"Kendell came into the office and chatted with us on a daily basis when he arrived at school each morning,” Davis said. “We will miss him and his enjoyable personality. We wish him well and know that he will go on to be a successful adult."
Cropp credits his successes as a student to the dedicated supporting casts he has at school and back at home. Cropp’s parents, stepparents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, and uncles all play an important and equal role in his educational journey, he said.
“They all put me on the right track,” Cropp explained. “They help me get to school, stay on the topic of school, help me keep my head clear, and took me in so I didn’t get in trouble.”
Likewise, whenever Cropp had a question or sought advice, he felt he could turn to any (and he emphasizes any) Walnut Creek teacher or staff member. They all had his back — always.
“I’m very appreciative of the Walnut Creek staff. They do so much to help anybody they can,” he said. “They help anybody before they even help themselves. They could all give you an answer that could fix your problem.”
That selflessness, combined with Cropp’s hard work these past few years, led to his acceptance into Des Moines Area Community College’s (DMACC) automotive program. Cropp starts classwork toward his degree in August, and he added that he currently works for a local automotive preventive maintenance company.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I loved cars,” Cropp said, noting how he can identify any vehicle’s make and model that passes him by. “Walnut Creek helped me get into DMACC and see what I really wanted to do in my future.”
Before Cropp takes those next steps, though, graduation is the next item on his checklist. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each Walnut Creek graduate can bring up to four guests. Despite audience limitations for the in-person event held at Valley High School’s Staplin Center, he knows the praise will be coming from those watching the livestream online. Furthermore, Cropp’s graduation party is planned the next day, he said, where he’ll surely receive even more elation and joy.
And while he prepares for this new phase of his life, what advice would Cropp give to future Walnut Creek and WDMCS students?
“It's not as hard as it looks. You can’t achieve something if you don’t start it, and you don’t know what you’re good at until you do it,” he said. “Walnut Creek is a great place to fulfil the understanding of not just that concept, but to help you push forward, get what you want done, and help you understand so you can do it.”
Learn more about Walnut Creek Campus online at www.wdmcs.org/walnut-creek.