Oxford High School graduates 239 seniors
By Michael Quirk
There are many cliches as it pertains to high school graduation speeches; there’s quoting Shel Silverstein, picking out lyrics from Vitamin C’s anthem and of course the recycling of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.” Oxford High School senior Sariya Khan may have added a new saying to the books at Friday night’s graduation ceremony: A senior class who selfies together, stays together.
Khan — one of the top three students in the class — delivered a speech to her fellow seniors, accompanied by a backpack.
Inside were four objects to symbolize each of the four years at Oxford High School: a yellow lanyard to symbolize sticking out as freshmen, a key to symbolize the move sophomore year to the new building, a stress ball for junior year and a watch to symbolize the counting down that accompanies senior year. After it all, the future Ole Miss Rebel took out a selfie stick and snapped a picture with her classmates.
“You guys are the people who corrected the sub when they got my name wrong, who didn’t judge me for being weird, the ones I grew up with and will always remember.”
Fellow member of the top three, James Cutler, thanked his favorite math and science teachers and praised fellow students. Cutler lauded soon-to-be Ole Miss football player D.K. Metcalf for his plays on the field, and valedictorian Kayla Owens for her abilities in the classroom. The future Naval Academy cadet challenged his classmates, saying, “I implore you all to woe harder than the best.”
A total of 239 students graced the stage at the Tad Pad. While they all came together in one place, many of them will be going their separate ways once the summer ends. Students received scholarships from the likes of Duke, Southern California, the University of Chicago and Fordham University, traversing the four corners of the continental United States.
One student who will venture out from the familiarity is Owens, who will attend CalTech in the fall. Owens admitted to the crowd her uneasiness with making jokes and writing a speech. After a few cut-ups of the warm crowd, she told the students not to just enjoy success, but also learn from the mistakes along the way.
“Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help, because everyone is going through life just as confused as you are,” she said. “Thank you for being such a wonderful class and I hope you have great futures.”
Also in attendance were OHS faculty and staff, the Oxford School District Board of Trustees and the Oxford School District Administration. Superintendent Brian Harvey praised the class members for their uniqueness and told them they always have a home back in Oxford.
“Every class has a story and a place,” he said. “You are and always will be an Oxford Charger and we’re proud of you.”
A LOUD CROWD
The school district put rules in place for Friday’s graduation to keep cheering and loud noise to a minimum in order to get through the ceremony in a timely manner.
Those rules included asking anyone making excessive noise for any one student to leave. According to Superintendent Brian Harvey, some people were escorted out or left voluntarily due to the new regulations.
“It was worse than in previous years,” he said. “This was more than likely in response to our efforts to keep the atmosphere respectful for all of our graduates. We will evaluate venue, procedures and communication to parents and other attendees as we do each year.”