Macon Chronicle-Herald - Macon, MO
  • 2013 Graduation Speaker

  • Want to meet the 2013 Graduation speaker? Let us introduce you.
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  • For the first time in many years a woman will be the speaker at the Macon R-I graduation ceremony.
    The R-I Board of Education selected Major Kate (Decker Blaise) Clarke to address the Macon High School Class of 2013 at their commencement on Sunday, May 12.
    "I was surprised when they called and asked me to speak," laughs Kate. "I kept asking 'are you sure you want me to do this?'"
    Kate is the daughter of Steve and Marie Decker and a 1994 graduate of MHS.
    At MHS she participated in many activities including band, softball, track and FBLA. She participated in the school musicals and plays. During her senior year Kate served as president of the student council.
    "Macon High School gives all students the opportunity to try anything," said Kate. "And I did."
    Following graduation Kate attended Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., graduating with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Political Science and Military History.
    After graduation she was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the United States Army and has continued to serve in a variety of assignments.
    She has served overseas in the Republic of South Korea and in Iraq. Last year she returned from a year's service in Operation Enduring Freedom in Qatar.
    Kate is the author of a book entitled "The Heart of a Soldier," which was published in 2005 following the death of her first husband, Mike Blaise, who was also from Macon.
    Mike and Kate were both stationed in Iraq and were due to return to the United States when Mike was killed in a helicopter crash in January of 2004.
    Kate currently lives in Ashland with her husband Michael Clarke. She serves in the Missouri National Guard's 175th Military Police Battalion out of Columbia. She is an Executive Officer and an Instructor for the University of Missouri-Columbia Army ROTC Department.
    Kate says her experiences growing up in Macon have been influential in her career.
    "It is good to know that wherever you go in the world that there is a little town called 'home' that will always welcome you back with open arms," said Kate.
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