ODA Class of 2013 Rolls Away to College


The Class of 2013 celebrates their final day of being High School Students

Graduation Day: a day that to every high school student seems so far from reality. A day that we spend four years working up to, and that we swear will never actually come. A day that finally arrives, and transitions us into a new and unfamiliar step of our lives. It’s scary, exciting, and nerve-wracking, and the ODA class of 2013 experienced all of these emotions on June 1, the day they finally graduated high school.

The ODA Class of 2013 was nothing short of exceptional. They were talented athletes, artists, and scholars ready to make their mark on the world. This year’s graduation ceremony was a beautiful recognition of this gifted class, and everything they have managed to accomplish.

Graduation is one of my personal favorite days of the year. I always look forward to watching each class celebrate their last day of high school, and seeing each different, individual reaction as one by one each graduate walks across the stage and to receive a diploma. 

Every year at graduation, I play in the orchestra, and each year there is something distinctly special from the year previous. This year in particular was my favorite graduation yet. I realize that this is because of the speeches; each one was personal and heartfelt. Each speech impacted each graduating senior. This shared reaction is something that can only happen at a school like ODA, where the students know each other and the faculty so well that we are like family.

Each year prior to graduation, the students elect a teacher to speak at the ceremony. This year’s choice was Mr. Sommers, whose speech was distinctive because he recognized the talents of each senior sitting in the audience. From volleyball stars, to thespians, to a young scientist who just might cure cancer. Mr. Sommers captured each talent well. I always enjoy watching our teachers speak at graduation, because I think it gives an insight into what it is like to be a part of a community like ODA. Every year this day reminds me how special and lasting these relationships are.

Soon after came my personal favorite part of each graduation ceremony: the student speeches. This year’s speakers were Kevin Moody and Cheyenne Kerekes, whose speeches were both moving and unique. Cheyenne’s humor is obvious to anyone who knows her, and became just as evident in her writing. She managed to give wise advice to her classmates through popular movie quotes. Kevin’s speech was delivered with ease and subtle humor, and touched on past memories with his classmates, and led to the future they are about to step in to. While both speeches were entirely different, they both delivered a sentimental message to the classmates they have spent so much of their lives with.  It was easy to see why their classmates picked them, as the applause from seniors could not have been more enthusiastic.

Though the speeches are my favorite part of the ceremony, I also love watching the students walk down the stage and receive their diplomas. Each reaction is different, but all give off the same message: “I just graduated!” I can’t imagine what that feeling will be like, and they probably couldn’t have beforehand either. The seniors are all happy to be entering a new phase of their lives. No doubt, however, letting go of the life they have held at The Out-of-Door Academy for so long will be an adjustment.

“It was such a bittersweet day,” says an anonymous graduate. “It was a great feeling that all of my hard work was coming to fruition, but at the same time I knew I was about to leave behind a very special part of my life.”

Graduation is one of the most memorable days of a person’s life, and the class of 2013 left their mark upon ODA as a class that will never be forgotten. The school has great faith in each student that their success will continue to flourish in college.

Good luck Class of 2013, and congratulations! We’ll miss you guys.