Graduation 2015

Turn the tassel, turn the page

Posted by Sean Bradley, Manistee News Advocate 
on May 31st, 2015

Onekama High School graduates 39 students Sunday

ONEKAMA — For the students wearing them, the turning of 39 tassels from right to left Sunday during the Onekama High School (OHS) graduation ceremony signified the end of one chapters and the beginning of new ones.

In her salutatory address, Louise Barnard talked about asking her fellow classmates what they are afraid of because of leaving high school in a survey she conducted. “They said making friends; not knowing any real-world stuff; debt; making enough money to pay for college (and) making a living,” Barnard said. “Some are afraid of college going by much faster than high school; struggling in school; not going to college and never traveling and finding a career that they enjoy and the field they want to work in.” She said her classmates know how to do all of these things, on a high school level, and that college will be a different scenario. “But in the scheme of things, the tools we need to survive college or our plans after high school are basically the tools we already have,” Barnard said. “We know how to work smarter, which will lead us to a better career. We’ve mastered that, too.”

During her valedictorian address, Janique Berard said throughout school, she and her fellow students were taught, little by little, how to be independent. “(In middle school) we were expected to get things done on our own,” she said. “We were given this independence at a time of discovery.” Berard said the past was spent preparing for graduating high school.

“What happened during the past four years has helped to shape us but does not determine who we will be for the rest of our lives,” she said. “What matters now is what we choose to do with our lives since we are moving on. It is now time to create the person we want to be in the future.”

Before the presentation of the diplomas by OHS principal Gina Hagen, Onekama Consolidated Schools Board of Education president Sally Koon spoke to the graduates, quoting William H. Danforth.

“Deep down in every heart is the desire to be somebody, to get somewhere but so often we sit waiting for the opportunity,” Koon said. “I’ve found opportunities don’t come to those who wait. They are captured by those who attack them.

“On behalf of the Onekama Consolidated Schools, you have met all of the requirements set forth by the State of Michigan to graduate,” she said. “Now go out and attack your opportunities.”

Other festivities occurred during the graduation ceremony. A slideshow presentation showcasing each of the graduates was shown, the OHS band performed a musical interlude and graduating senior Tucker Laws sang an original song, “Through the Looking Glass,” for the audience. After the ceremony, graduates and their families gathered outside of the school for congratulations.