They came, they saw, they graduated.
Oxford’s Class of 2018 said good-bye to the simplicity of high school life during the commencement held May 24 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Independence Township.
A total of 382 of Oxford’s 432 graduates walked across the big stage, a symbolic bridge linking the innocent, carefree days of childhood to the hectic, responsibility-laden world of adulthood.
“Be happy, not sappy, that school is ending,” said Rajat Kadian in an address to his fellow graduates.
Kadian, an international student from India who will be attending Purdue University in the fall, gave his classmates a wise piece of advice from the great children’s author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss – “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
A total of 212 members (or 49.07 percent) of the Class of 2018 graduated with various academic honors.
At the peak of the academic mountain were valedictorian Micah Dymond and salutatorian Aaron Reynolds, two of Oxford’s 25 Top Scholars.
During her speech, Dymond reminded members of the Class of 2018 that they are all “loved, valued and created for a purpose.”
“This purpose is not to be the richest, the smartest or the best,” she said. “This is a call for kindness. Your purpose is to look out for the welfare of others. Your purpose is to promote freedom, justice and equality for all.”
Dymond exhorted her fellow graduates to use the education they’ve received to help those who are less privileged and improve the world around them.
“Here you will find contentment and joy,” she said.
The other Top Scholars were Zackery Acton, Brennan Burrows, Annalise Cornell, Danielle DeRyckere, Kayla Doslak, Sydney Gilles, Elise Godfryd, Bridget Grabowski, Lila Haddan, Jacob Kreshock, Joshua Krol, Elizabeth Marshall, Alexander Mazurek, Kalli Mulholland, Izaak Ossege, Vanessa Pariso, Kelly Sayers, Kayla Skiver, Haley Speed, Deanna Staser, Kylie Vittetoe, Katelyn Whitlach and Elle Wright.
Eighty students graduated Summa Cum Laude, meaning they had a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.85 or greater. Forty-five graduated Magna Cum Laude with cumulative GPAs ranging from 3.7 to 3.849.
Fifty students graduated Cum Laude, with cumulative GPAs between 3.5 and 3.69, while another 37 graduated with honors for having GPAs of 3.3 to 3.49.
While these academic honors are impressive, Kadian reminded his fellow graduates that receiving a diploma is not the end of a person’s education.
“If life is a band, learning is it’s beat . . . Never, never stop learning because life never stops teaching,” he said.
Whatever comes next in the lives of these graduates is all up to them, whether it’s attending a university, college or vocational school, getting a job, getting married and starting a family or traveling the world.
“Our freedom to choose” was “limited” in high school, said graduate Richard Galbraith during his address to the class, and those limitations were necessary because they “kept us in check in a good way.”
“Now, there’s nothing . . . to stop us from doing anything we choose to make this world our own,” he said.
“But whatever you do, never forget the town and all the amazing people in it who (put you) on the right path,” Galbraith added.