Kings graduate entering National Guard hopes to 'help children that were like me'

·2 min read

Jun. 11—Kings High School graduate Savannah Gehler knows how to handle hard times because her family has been through hard times.

"When I was 9 years old my parents split up and my father went to jail. Which led to my mom having to raise us three children alone," said 18-year-old Gehler.

She had to pitch in to help care for her 10-year-old sister as part of extra responsibilities. That greatly affected her path

Every spring produces extraordinary high school graduates from our area, and even though it was an historic pandemic school year of many changes, that remains the same. Recent weeks have seen thousands of seniors graduating and celebrating in commencement events across Butler and Warren counties.

The Journal-News is celebrating notable graduates such as Gehler.

"It was a lot of stress because we weren't that blessed financially and so I started picking up where I could. I helped raise my now 10-year-old sister and she has been my little sidekick ever since then."

"We also moved around a lot. I moved to the Kings district just last year coming from a very small town. I didn't make a lot of friends at first because I was trying to make money and pay my car payments as well as buying all the things I need for myself," said Gehler.

She worked 30 hours per week to help the family. Knowing that her family faced some financial struggles, she turned to the military to help her college path.

"Then COVID-19 hit and we went online. I decided to do college credit plus (online) to get ahead in my schooling. I did this and continued to work 30 hours at my job and save. But I knew I'd never have enough to go to college. So then I turned to other options and the military was the rout I ended at."

"I enlisted in the Army National Guard in January and will be leaving in July for basic training. My future plans are to help children that were like me. I plan on becoming a child and family counselor," she said.

Her advice to other teens facing adversity: "It does get better, but you have to try. You have to get up every morning and make it better for you as well as your family. But it's not going to get better without you trying."