Capturing important moments in the lives of others is nothing new for Ashley Read ’16. She took her experience in Yearbook at Hill Country with her to Kansas State University in the fall of 2016, and during her senior year, served as Editor-in-Chief of Royal Purple, Kansas State University’s award-winning yearbook.

“This is my second year as Editor-in-Chief, and my third year on staff,” says Ashley. “My first year, I was given the opportunity to be the design editor—a huge deal being a new staffer. During my years on staff, we have received many awards both as a staff and as individuals. The book’s major awards are 3rd place 2018 Best Yearbook Cover, the 2018 All-Kansas Award, the 2018 Pacemaker Award, second place 2019 Best Yearbook Cover, and Finalist for the 2019 Pacemaker Award.”

During her senior year at Hill Country, Ashley’s design portfolio was awarded 2nd place by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. “Ashley is one of the most influential staff members we have ever had,” says John Horvath, long-time Hill Country Yearbook advisor. “She was instrumental in putting our yearbook on the map. It would be impossible to overstate her impact on our yearbook program.”

One of her fondest memories of her time at Hill Country was getting a 1st place medal in the 4×400 meter relay. It was during her senior year in her last race as a Knight. “Coach Thurman and Coach Greer were determined to get me a 1st place medal,” says Ashley. “After I insisted on participating in the sprinter run off and placing second out of all the sprinters, the coaches realized maybe I wasn’t a long-distance runner after all. They decided to put me, a long-distance runner, in all three of the relays for the first time at the district meet. After passing district, we went to regionals and on to state. At state, we ran the best races we could, and I finally got my 1st place medal.”

The Kansas State graduate has enjoyed the last few years living north of Texas. “Moving to Kansas was definitely a huge change—not just moving from a warm place to a very cold one but also moving from a large city to a very small one,” says Ashley. “I was also not used to having friends and people around me who may not necessarily be Christians. Hill Country provided a strong foundation in my Christian faith, so I was able to communicate with those people and befriend them in a godly way. My strong foundation allowed me to listen to and understand others’ beliefs but not allow them to sway my own. Now I can say that my faith is stronger than ever before, and it’s due to the relationships and learning I received from Hill Country. I know that I can contact any of my past teachers and coaches from Hill Country if I need anything, and that’s a great thing to have when you move far away from home.”