Great Oaks is extremely proud to be able to congratulate the graduating class of 2018 from all four of our career campuses. You all have accomplished so much in the past two years to set you up for a successful future. You all took the risk of leaving your home high school to come to Great Oaks. You chose to grab hold of your future and learn a profession. We are so proud of each and every one of you. We wish you good luck on all your future endeavors. We also want to thank our student speakers from each campus for their kind words about their experience at Great Oaks the past two years. Congratulations class of 2018!
The following are the speeches from the featured student speakers at each of the Senior Ceremonies.
Diamond Oaks – Emoni Walker
Good evening. I want to first start off by saying it is an honor to be standing in front of such a big crowd of beautiful people. Please help me to thank our parents, instructors, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and everyone else who has helped us to sit in these seats today (applause) …because LET’S be honest here, we didn’t do it alone. We had some of THE finest school staffs a student could ask for and that’s not even including our parents. Our parents have been there every step of the way! Making sure we get up at SIX THIRTY-FIVE every morning so WE don’t miss the bus! Now that?! That is love my friend. So to them we owe a tremendous amount of gratitude and respect. Thank you all for what you’ve done and continue to do. Sincerely, you all are great at your jobs and we will forever be in your debt. You are appreciated.
Now please, don’t get me wrong! With all due respect, it was us PUPILS taking standardized tests every year to graduate. We persevered through the bitter cold, the all-nighters and even wisdom teeth removal. It didn’t come easy, but nothing good in life ever does. It takes a lot of hard work and tough decisions to get this far and as you look around at your future nurses, welders, electricians, teachers, construction workers, trainers, auto mechanics and oh yeah the guy you’re going to call to fix your laptop after you spill apple juice on it for the third time, you’re going to notice something. This is an extraordinary group of students. We all came to Diamond because we wanted something more than a typical high school experience. We have exceeded the expectations of the normal teenager and will continue to do so. We did what very few dared to do and will now reap the benefits. This graduating class of students not only put in the work to obtain a high school diploma but also took the initiative to get started on careers that will last a lifetime.
Muhammad Ali once said, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” COURAGEOUS. That is a perfect word to describe us. Courageous means not deterred by anger or pain. Everyone making their way to this stage is courageous. We didn’t let drama become blockades in our paths. We didn’t let personal lows prevent us from reaching our highest of heights. Take pride in every round of applause received here tonight. You’ve earned it.
Let Ali’s words influence you as they did me while writing this speech. Be delighted in everything we’ve done but don’t stop there. If you want something GO GET IT! Don’t be afraid to take some risks and prove some people wrong along the way. No one is ever
going to have your back like you will, so you owe it to yourself to go out there make your statement and wear it proud. You will have fears throughout this journey, but don’t let them hinder your decision making instead enhance it. Let any fears you may have drive and push you that much further into the arms of success. Lastly, always remember that being told “no” isn’t the closing of a door but actually the chance to find another way in.
This is just the beginning and barely at that! We have so much more ahead of us. We’ve made it this far therefore let nothing hold you back from obtaining your goals and getting where you want to be. Be courageous in every aspect of your life, whether it’s in a college lecture, on the job, or during basic training. Take nothing passively and show everyone the young kings and queens this generation truly offers. Class of 2018, I’ve never been more pleased to call a group of people my classmates. It’s been such a blessing to be surrounded by so many hard-working and dedicated human beings. I wish you all nothing but the best. Congratulations.
Laurel Oaks – Mariah Carter
Good evening! My name is Mariah Carter and I am a senior in the Digital Arts and Design lab at Laurel Oaks and a student from Washington Court House. My fellow students, we have made it to our graduation! We have been through so much over the years, and now it is our time to shine and to celebrate all of our accomplishments. High school has been a time of change and challenge for all of us, but we have come out on the other side of it successfully.
Looking at all of you today, I cannot help but think about the first time we met—sophomore visit day. We were ready for a fresh start, seedlings in need of a place to take root. That day, we saw new worlds opened to us: dentistry, aviation, welding, digital arts, construction, animal science and so many more. That day, we knew that the opportunity to be a student at Laurel Oaks would be the opportunity of a lifetime, one that would give us the best chance to grow. We waited for the acceptance letters, and when they finally came, we were so excited for all of the new experiences the journey would bring.
The first day of our junior year, we were all so nervous. We had gone through many first days of school, but this was different. We were growing in new soil, with new teachers on a big new campus. Some of us were overwhelmed at first, with classrooms full of students we did not know, but we quickly adjusted. With the help of our teachers these students became our friends and our labs became a second home.
As senior year began, we started to branch out. Just as a tree develops and leafs out, we branched out from ourselves and did more for the community. We helped with community service events, like penny wars, canned food drives and cardboard city—all of which directly helped the communities this school serves. We went to SkillsUSA, HOSA, FFA, and FCCLA competitions, demonstrating our skills and representing our schools. Many of us went on job placement and started working in local salons, nursing homes, car and truck mechanic shops, farms and daycares. These jobs allowed us to further our skills and be a working part of our community.
Just as there are seasons of growth, there are also seasons of change. Our Laurel Oaks family suffered a sudden loss in the fall with the loss of our friend and Tech guy, Jake Anders. Jake, a mentor and also a graduate of Laurel Oaks, taught us how important it is to live every day to its fullest and work hard towards our dreams. He will be missed, but will always remain a part of the Laurel Oaks family.
Winter seemed forever, but with the promise of spring came many new opportunities. Acceptance letters to colleges and the updating of our resumes gave us hope for a great start to our futures. Before we knew it, the countdown of many “lasts” started: last proms were celebrated, last papers were written and last tests were taken. That brings us to today, finally graduates of Laurel Oaks.
I would like to congratulate all of you on this monumental achievement. Like a tree, it took many days and years for us to grow; we started as just seeds, but finished as strong upright “Oak” trees, ready to take leaf into the world. We always hoped to be students at Laurel Oaks, but we have become more: We have become Great Oaks. As we branch out into the world, it is important to remember where we placed our roots.
Congratulations, again, Laurel Oaks Class of 2018!
Live Oaks – Josie Burchett
My nervous foot tapping in anticipation as I saw a letter from Great Oaks sitting in my mail box, two years ago thinking of the future and I realize how far we’ve come to get here tonight. Leaving my known high school to go to a completely new place was so intimidating. We left our homeschools thinking about what we were doing for our future, making better choices to put us above average. We picked from programs like welding, early childhood education, vet assisting, health tech, and many more, all-serious passions for us. Great Oaks has shaped all of us and helped us through our last two years of high school.
Now, we’re adults. We can drive where we want, spend our money on what we want, and make our own doctor and dentist appointments… Mom, please disregard that last segment. We’re still growing, but tonight we can look back and think of how far we’ve come. Parents, we aren’t little elementary kids anymore, you don’t need to hold our hands in the store so we don’t get lost, well…. most of us. This is a moment of pride for us, people! We are graduating! Moving on to bigger things in our lives. We’ve made it past exam weeks and serious projects worth half of our grade, like Mr. Whitesell’s debate project. When we were little, we aspired to be doctors, astronauts, ballerinas, singers, and movie stars. Now, we’re finished with high school and ready to pursue careers that fulfill our deepest passions.
While we jitter in anticipation for what comes next, we can’t help but to look back at our friends, our labs and all the amazing memories. Picture this, our lab had a Christmas party, with 48 kids packed into a room dancing and belting out Maria Carey’s, “All I want for Christmas is you”. We can’t wait for what’s next. College acceptance, housing fees, meal plans, books, but also work, careers, family and starting a life for ourselves. So tonight, we take a large step for our passions, for our future. We all smile and take deep breaths, realizing this is really happening.
Great Oaks has put us ahead on a tremendous scale and we owe all the staff a humungous thank you. Thanks to the lovely ladies who serve us lunch. Thanks to the teachers who are willing to meet with us before and after school, at lunch and during their planning bells. Thank you to all of the teachers who pushed us, and led us through high school. Thanks to the administrators, and especially to our parents, who led us through grade school and helped us with the seemingly tedious homework while whining, “I don’t wanna!” You have all watched us grow up, growing out of hissy fits and temper tantrums, moving into middle school drama and starting new sports, and finding new trouble in our teenage adventures. Thank you. Now tonight, you watch us receive our passports with pride on our faces. We made it; here we are. Tonight you watch us walk across this stage, smiles spread across our faces and realize, this is it, what we all have anticipated for 12 years. With that, a personal thank you to my mom and dad, who sat at the kitchen table with me and practiced multiplication with me every night because I had convinced myself that one times one was two. Elementary, middle, to high school, we grew and learned to hold our heads up high, from learning to ride a bike, to driving a car; we’ve had guidance, and tonight is proof that we’ve been steered in the right direction. Thank you, to everyone who helped and believed in us. I want to thank my friends, Kailei, Jess, Christy, Dany, Ty, and Alyssa, we’ve made it, and tonight is our night. Everyone take a deep breath, look around at how lucky we are to find our passion, and seize the day. Because the future is ours.
Scarlet Oaks – Logan Caruso
Good evening. I’d like to start by thanking the deans, instructors, teachers, counselors, and staff for providing us with the opportunity to attend a campus that allows us to pursue a career right out of high school. Without all of you, this wouldn’t be possible.
Next, I’d like to thank my fellow classmates…oops…I mean, fellow graduates, for making the past two years memorable. I won’t ever forget the experiences I’ve had with these guys and girls. Two years ago, at the age of 16, I was at Anderson High School a regular student planning on rolling through high school just like the rest of the world.
One day, a speaker from Great Oaks came to my school and told us about their school and the opportunities that came with the district. At first, I was skeptical. I had never heard of Great Oaks, and besides, none of my friends were going so why would I? But then, something caught my eyes.
Fellow graduates, I’m sure you decided to come to Scarlet because a lab caught your eye. Was it fire and EMS or law enforcement? Were you into automotive technology or electricity? Did you like building or helping others look their best? Whether your passion was for food, animals or…even teeth…we all found something that called to us.
Looking up to my uncle Robert Parker, who works for the city of Cincinnati, I wanted to become a fire fighter like him. Besides my whole family consists of cops, nurses, and teachers; I had no choice. So I went to my counselor and scheduled a shadow day at Scarlet. Oh boy…I had to wake up at 4:50 am that morning so already I wasn’t liking this Scarlet Oaks idea. When I arrived at the campus it looked like a small community college. By all appearances it looked pretty sweet, however, I wasn’t going to let its appearance make my decision to come here.
When I walked off the bus, I was taken to an odd place called the cybrary. Already, I could tell this place was totally different. After that brief stop, I was taken to the fire classroom where I learned about the course and the certifications I could earn out of high school. Wow! I was really interested, but none of my friends were attending. Popularity is everything in high school, right? Wrong! Ladies and gentleman I thought the same thing until I took a look at myself in the mirror and decided “you know what I am going to be an EMS worker!”
And that’s exactly what you, my fellow graduates, did at the ages of 15 and 16. Everyone seated in front of me today, you class of 2018, made the same decision I did. We decided to accept the change in order to set up our future for success. We took our careers into our own hands two years earlier than our peers. We took the sacrifice. We left behind our friends and the comfort of familiarity. We shed our freedom of dress and agreed to adhere to a different standard. We gave up sleep to go to a school farther away. Some of us drove over 30 minutes to arrive to school. Think of that! 30 minutes to get to school and 30 minutes to drive home every day for two years. If that’s not making a commitment, then please define it for me!
My fellow classmates and I accepted the risk of coming to Scarlet to better our futures. And just look at us now. We obviously made the right choice. We actually made it. 12 school years of our lives always felt like forever, but never seemed so short until now. We class of 2018 are the ones who had a plan and followed through, and now we couldn’t be happier. So as I say my last goodbyes to my friends, my teachers, and my instructors who have made me who I am, I would like to wish you all luck with your future, whether you are entering college, a career, or the military. I wish you the best of happiness with all of your life experiences. Congratulations Scarlet Oaks’ class of 2018. We did it!