The Class of 2022 was celebrated by the OHS Grad Party committee and the community on Friday, May 27 on Brahman Field following the seniors' last official duty at Okeechobee High School, attending graduation practice.
The amazing community of Okeechobee once again proved to be very generous in their support of our graduating senior class by providing over $20,000 in donations to provide gifts, food and entertainment for these deserving students.
The 372 seniors who attended the event received a gift designed to help them with their future endeavors. Popular gifts were laptops, printers, mini refrigerators, microwaves and anything electronic! Gift cards from local businesses, fast food, gasoline and Amazon also were appreciated as was the gift that is always the right color and size — cash!
The Seminole Tribe of Florida has, over the past several years, sponsored the grand prize, four cash prizes of significant amounts. You can be assured those lucky kids are very grateful! Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy presented the “Big Checks” of $1,000 to Isabelle Martinez; $750 to William Rivero, $500 to Madelynn Williams and $250 to Kyler Morgan.
The Okeechobee Education Foundation provided a laptop to be given to a senior who committed to attending IRSC, and Maria Campos was the beneficiary of that generous gift.
A “money lei” was crafted and donated by Diane Hagan. Committee member Amanda Riedel wore the lei around the party and had students guess how much money it contained. Madison Henry was the best guesser and received $152 for her efforts.
Volunteers from Our Village, Healthy Start, Rotary, Kiwanis, Okeechobee Historical Society, Okeechobee Democratic Executive Committee, Okeechobee County Schools and others helped to get the event up and running. Special thanks to Sheriff Noel Stephen and Undersheriff Michael Hazellief for “taking the heat” to prepare hamburgers and hotdogs for all the participants. Steve Szentmartoni proved to be an exceptional master of ceremonies with his efficient ability to keep the show on the road and on time!
Our Village Okeechobee was the organizing sponsor of the event under the leadership of Leah Suarez and Magi Cable. The members of the Grad Party Committee also need recognition for their efforts in putting on this event. They included Senior Class sponsors Brittany Carrier and Krystin Hargraves, Courtney Moyett, Jess Olney, Amanda Riedel, Don Hanna, Mayor Dowling Watford, Kim Hargraves, Heidi Dove, Diane Hagan, Toni Wiersma and Tobi Kogut. A special thank you to OHS Principal Lauren Myers and Assistant Principal Brent Stuart in their continuing support and trust in our committee to allow us to put on this event at the high school.
Our “Summa Cum Laude” sponsors were the aforementioned Seminole Tribe of Florida and Okeechobee Children’s Services. “Cum laude” sponsors were the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee,
Okeechobee Rotary Foundation, Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital, One Stop Party Shop. The “Scholars” were Abney Building and Consulting, Eli’s Western Wear, George and Mary Beth Cooper, Gilberthasit.com, Jill and Will Holcomb, Lonnie and Gary Kirsch, and Tobacco Free Partnership of Okeechobee.
We had a plethora of “Friends of Grad Party” who included : Anneliz Mullins, Bill and Merle Hendry, Buxton Bass Funeral Home, Diane Hagan, Gary Moorman, Jay & Stephanie Walpole, Jerry & Carol Bryant, Jo Norris, Okeechobee County Education Association, Okeechobee DAR Chapter, Okeechobee County Retired Educators Association, SAKE LLC, Sandra & Carrol Word, Susan Williams, Theta Omicron Sorority, Larson Dairy, Mixon Real Estate, Brennan Eye Care, David & Kay McCool, Publix, Jim & Ruthi Pippin, Joyce Clericuzio, WaWa, Jupiter Bounce.com, Chris Samuel, JL Vet Services, Trend’s Salon, Syfrett Feed and Custom Signs and Graphics.
Hopefully, no one has been overlooked! The Grad Party committee is very grateful for your support!