Hopkins senior graduates as marine

Before walking the stage to receive her Hopkins High School diploma, Pfc. Laura Velderman of the U.S. Marine Corps, received a special tribute from Michigan legislators in Lansing for her dedication to serving her country and community.

The tribute acknowledged that although Velderman earned enough credits to graduate from high school in December 2018, she gave up the last months of her high school career to serve her country in the U.S. Marine Corps.

At 17, Velderman left for boot camp. During her time there, she was voted to receive the highly coveted “Molly Marine” award by her platoon, which is given to the recruit who most exemplifies the characteristics of a Marine and meaning that while most recruits were graduating as a Private, Velderman was promoted to Private First Class. She also qualified as “expert” in markmanship.

Velderman has always held a special place in her heart for veterans. During her time at Hopkins High School, she was a member of the band and played at services honoring veterans. She also excelled as an athlete on the Hopkins cross country team.

Last year, she was featured in an article in The Allegan County News for her sportsmanship while helping a member of a competing school.

On Friday, May 24, Velderman graduated for a second time, crossing the stage as a Marine to collect her high school diploma.

“Her dedication to serving her country and those in her community is inspiring and honorable,” the tribute said. “May she know of our esteem and warmest wishes for her continued success and happiness.”

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