Southeast senior prepares for takeoff after high school success

Southeast High School senior Porter is preparing to fly into successful skies after gaining a stratosphere-sized amount of knowledge on campus.
Porter has used his four years in Southeast’s hallways as a launchpad to his future goals. He has participated in many school activities, formed friendships with various students and represented Nebraska at a national event in Washington, D.C. The future Air Force Academy cadet said Southeast has been a source of confidence and encouragement for him.
“Southeast has been the perfect school to go to because I’ve been able to have every opportunity and every chance to make my dreams come true,” Porter said. “I’m really grateful to all of the organizations and teachers that have helped me realize my potential and always pushed me and encouraged me to be the best I can every day. It’s full of people who want the best for you, so it’s been such a blessing to be here.”

Kelley Winter has worked at Southeast for 13 years and helps students as a school counselor. She said Porter has made a positive mark on hundreds of lives.
“He is an outstanding student, but more importantly, he is just the greatest human,” Winter said. “He has strong values, strong morals, he has great character, he’s kind to everyone, he says hi to people, he knows other students’ and teachers’ names and he’s always asking about people’s day or how they’re doing. He’s authentic and genuine. In all my years of being a teacher or school counselor, Porter’s just the best. He really is.”

Porter began his Southeast career in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Winter first met him during a Zoom meeting they arranged to discuss schedule changes. She said his polite personality and attention to detail were apparent from the very beginning.
“Right away, I thought, ‘This kid is a rock star,’” Winter said. “That was a ten-minute meeting, and he made that impression on me right away.”
Porter said he had a similar reaction when he met Southeast teachers and staff. Even though the year was different on many levels, the inspiration he received during that time filled up his personal fuel tank.
“It was obviously a weird first year, but nonstop, all of the teachers I had were like, high school is really where you can transform yourself into the person you want to be,” Porter said. “They encouraged me to think about what you want to become and then take every chance you can. That was language and encouragement that I really hadn’t had yet, so getting into high school and having all of the teachers say that was very kind of them.”

Porter said being in many organizations has helped him. He served as president of National Honor Society and Key Club and was a member of state-qualifying football and boys golf teams. He also participated in Shield Club, Leadership Cadre and Hope Squad.
“I think the most important thing is the range of people I was able to meet and form friendships with,” Porter said. “Each organization has its own small group of people and friends, but when you get to diversify yourself into so many groups, I feel you get a super holistic view of the student body that makes up the school that I’m so fond of.”

A life-changing moment for Porter took place last summer when he attended the annual Cornhusker Boys State program. He impressed Boys State leaders so much that he was picked to be a Nebraska delegate for the prestigious American Legion Boys Nation event in July.
Each state had just two delegates at Boys Nation, which took place in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Students debated bills in a simulated U.S. Senate, toured the National Mall and visited Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill.
“It was a really fun time to meet incredible people from across the nation,” Porter said.
Winter felt it was one of the top achievements she has seen from a student in her career. The list of prominent Boys Nation alumni includes former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Montana Governor Steve Bullock.
“I just feel that’s gone a little unnoticed,” Winter said. “It’s a huge deal.”

Porter said the trip also played a key role in his decision to apply to the Air Force Academy.
“Whenever I got to speak with a veteran, there was such authority and respect that came with each word they said,” Porter said. “I found it admirable and I thought their path of service was worth emulating, so it really sparked my journey toward the military academy.”
Porter will begin basic training this summer and will start classes this fall. His goal is to enter flight training school in his sophomore year.

Porter said his diploma symbolizes how much Southeast has prepared him for the successful flights that lie ahead.
“It’s sad because you know you’re going to be leaving behind so many incredible people and great friends, but there’s also so much pride knowing that I’m going to be able to tell people that I’m from Lincoln Southeast High School,” Porter said. “I get to look back and say that those were the walls that shaped me and they let me accomplish everything I could possibly want.”

Congratulations, Porter! We wish you the best in your future endeavors. We are thankful our educators could help you Launch at LPS!


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Published: May 24, 2024, Updated: May 24, 2024

Southeast High School senior Porter smiles outside the school building this spring. He is planning to fly into successful skies as an Air Force Academy cadet. He said his time at Southeast has prepared him well for life after graduation.