Oxford graduates

Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat
By Jim Newell
Managing Editor
INDEPENDENCE TWP. — The Oxford High School Class of 2024 have turned their tassels and are ready to embark on a journey to find their passions and leave their marks on the world.
Nearly 400 seniors graduated from OHS during commencement ceremonies on May 16 at Pine Knob, with their family, fellow classmates, teachers, administrators and friends celebrating the graduates’ achievements.
And while school officials and students who spoke during the commencement ceremonies said the Class of 2024 has faced challenges, the message from everyone was clear: Oxford’s graduating class has shown they are true leaders who have a positive attitude about life and have a positive influence on those around them. They are principled leaders among their peers, always willing to tackle obstacles in their paths.
They are sweet, funny, caring and like to have fun.
Senior speaker Allison Hepp, who will study music education at Michigan State University in the fall, asked her classmates what they are passionate about, and implored them to pursue that which inspires them.
“We’ve all been asked the question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ plenty of times in our lives,” Hepp said. “The question we should be asking instead is, ‘What are you passionate about?’ I believe one of the most important journeys we will take in life is seeking to discover our passion, and high school has been just the beginning.”
The Class of 2024 has spent the past four years as a time of growth, exploration and self-discovery, learning valuable lessons both inside and outside the classroom, Hepp said.
“I would like everyone to take a moment and reflect on where their true passion lies,” Hepp said. “Pursuing a passion requires taking risks, facing rejection and navigating uncertainty. However, it is through all of this that we grow and learn more about ourselves. By exploring our interests, values and talents, we discover what truly ignites our souls and drives us to make a difference in the world. For many, it is the people surrounding us tonight who have helped us explore our endless options for the future and started us on the path to pursuing them.”
“So I ask you not what do you want to be when you grow up, but rather what are you passionate about?” Hepp said. “Pursue that and you will realize your purpose. Congratulations to the graduating class of 2024. We may discover our passions and leave our marks on the world.”
Top scholar recognitions went to valedictorian Sean Wilson and salutatorians Emily Herron and Cassidy Feeney.
Wilson will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he will play football and explore math and physics. Wilson graduated Summa Cum Laude, is a Top Scholar and International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate and is president of Oxford’s National Honor Society and is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the math national honor society, and has earned his Seal of Biliteracy.
Herron graduated Summa Cum Laude, is a top scholar and an international baccalaureate diploma candidate and a member of the National Honor Society. She will attend Central Michigan University to study biology and pre-med.
Feeney will attend the University of Michigan and study biochemistry, cellular and biomedical science. He graduated Summa Cum Laude, is a Top Scholar and International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate and has earned the Seal of Biliteracy.
Wilson spoke of what makes each individual a valuable person, saying that it is the relationships with and treatment of other people that makes the Class of 2024 valuable. He asked his classmates to “go out of your way to make people feel valued.”
“You all have absolute value in my eyes,” Wilson said.
Superintendent Dr. Vickie Markavitch told the class that it would be their resolve, fortitude, focus and heart that will lead them to accomplish all of the things yet to do in their lives.
“To have meaning in life, you must have something important yet to do that is bigger than yourself,” Markavitch said, quoting author Viktor Frankl. “And oh my goodness, my young friends, you have decades upon decades upon decades of important things yet to do.”
Oxford High School Principal Dacia Beazley, who is retiring at the end of the school year, reminded the graduates that they will forever be Wildcats.
“You always have a home in Oxford Community Schools,” Beazley said.
School board President Dr. Erin Reis, an Oxford alumnus, praised the class for their resiliency and perseverance and challenged them to make an impact on the world.
“As each of you journey toward the future and reflect on the memories you have made and the friendships you have formed, the lessons you have learned and the experiences you have collectively shared, I’ll quote Sydney Harris in stating “the purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” And you have done that. So, as you step into the next chapter of your lives looking out that window, I encourage you to embrace and drive change, to challenge yourself and others and to pursue your passions with courage and determination, and remember that success is not only measured by accolades that you achieve, but by the impact you make on the world around you,” Reis said.

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