OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School graduation ceremony held on May 31 marked the end of the 2018-19 school year for lake area schools. Okeechobee was the last of the six high schools around Lake Okeechobee to hold their graduation this year.
The ceremony was held at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center at 7 p.m.
OHS principal Dylan Tedders opened the event by thanking and congratulating the class of 2019.
“I’ve enjoyed watching you grow into mature adults,” said Mr. Tedders of the 2019 seniors, “at least most of the time. I know that you will move forward and you will be great. You’ve achieved excellence and demonstrated the Brahman way. You’re Brahmans forever. You’ve made your mark on the school and I am proud of you.”
One hundred and eighty-four seniors from the OHS class of 2019 finished high school with an unweighted GPA of 3.0 or above, while 119 seniors received scholarships worth a combined $1.3 million. Of that $1.3 million, $639,000 came from local individuals, businesses and agencies in Okeechobee.
Thirty-three migrant students graduated on May 31, and 17 of those students were the first in their family to graduate.
The class of 2019 also completed 18,681 hours of community service during their time at the high school.
Four students from the class of 2019 graduated summa cum laude. Kennedee Brewer, Ayan Desai, Christine Groso and Haley Land all earned the honor and spoke to their fellow classmates before diplomas were handed out.
“Before we go our separate ways I have a challenge for my classmates,” said Christine Groso in her speech. “Spread positivity relentlessly, no matter how negative your situation may be. Be stubbornly optimistic in the face of hardships. There are too many in this world who spread their hatred like a wildfire. Those are the people you must use your positivity most against. Give them a compliment, smile at someone, share a joke with them, learn their point of view and keep an open mind. Be kind. You’ll never know how much someone might need just the slightest bit of positivity in their lives.”
All four who earned summa cum laude were heavily involved with their arts in their time at OHS. Ayan and Christine were drum majors and Haley was a four-year lettermen in the OHS band program, while Kennedee played a central role throughout her time in the drama program.
Although the 2018-19 school year is concluded the 2019-20 school year is just around the corner. Students will be reporting for their first day on Aug. 12 at all lake area schools.