Seymour High School senior Payton Miskell has not let the drama of being a teenager distract him.
For the past four years, he has kept his focus on what mattered to him — getting good grades, staying out of trouble and preparing for a career in law enforcement.
Miskell’s hard work and ability to balance a busy schedule have paid off. On Sunday, he is one of 313 students who will receive their diploma during Seymour High School’s commencement ceremony at 2:30 p.m. in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium. Valedictorian is Connie Li, and salutatorian is Anna May Huff.
“It’s going to be a pretty emotional day,” Miskell said of graduation.
But he knows he has made his parents proud, and it’s time to become an adult.
Although he’s excited he can now move forward with his future plans to become a police officer, he also knows he has to say goodbye to his friends and teachers who have supported him along the way.
One teacher who has made a positive impact on Miskell is Ron Novak, who teaches criminal justice at C4 Columbus Area Career Connection. Miskell started taking classes at the career center last year and said Novak has been a valuable resource and mentor.
During his time with C4, he learned about emergency vehicle operation, airboats, processing crime scenes, taking fingerprints, using facial identification software and other related procedures.
Miskell also completed the Columbus Cadet Academy this year, where he went through the ins and outs of police work.
“It’s fun but hard,” he said of the experience.
At Seymour High School, he has been involved with Students Against Destructive Decisions, an organization that has allowed him to work with School Resource Officer Keith Williams to give students a voice in addressing issues such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, texting and driving and bullying.
Miskell’s interest in criminal justice and law enforcement is rooted in his desire to help other people when they need it, he said.
To get an early jump on his career, he is currently employed through Securitas, a private security company, at factories in Columbus and Seymour. While going to school, he worked 32 hours a week and sometimes more, he said.
The heavy work schedule did not bring his grades down, though, as he made the high honor roll.
“I needed the money,” he said of working. “I want to be able to save and move out on my own within the next few months.”
He recently applied for a job as a dispatcher with the Seymour Police Department and plans to start classes at Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus this fall.
“I jumped on that as soon as I heard about it,” he said of the dispatcher’s job.
Being in a respected position of authority, Miskell said he believes he can make a difference in people’s lives and in the community.
His success in school can be attributed to the advice he followed and now gives.
“Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t be afraid to make new friends. Don’t stress over drama. I kept myself away from drama,” he said. “Don’t worry about people’s thoughts of you. People are going to judge you, but it’s just getting ahead of that, I think.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Payton Miskell” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Name: Payton Miskell
School: Seymour High School
Activities: Students Against Destructive Decisions, completed the Columbus Cadet Academy and worked for Securitas, a private security company
Future plans: Attend Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus to study criminal justice and become a police officer
Family: Parents, Shawn (Sam) Miskell and Heather Brasher; siblings, Haley and Keigan Miskell and Patience and Aydon Richart
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What: Seymour High School graduation
When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Earl D. Prout Auditorium
Who: 313 graduates