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OCA celebrates graduating senior from Shawnee

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

The Oklahoma Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school serving students statewide in grades K-12, celebrated 148 graduating seniors in a Virtual Commencement for Class of 2020 on May 17.

While graduates were unable to walk across the stage to receive their diploma as tradition holds, school administrators and teachers honored the graduates with proper pomp and circumstance during the virtual graduation ceremony.

Shawnee's Lilian Smith was on of those 148 seniors celebrated.

With the online graduation ceremony, family members, friends, teachers and administrators were still able to gather in the digital setting to commemorate this milestone and celebrate the many accomplishments of the Class of 2020. Fortunately, due to the school’s full-time virtual curriculum, seniors at Oklahoma Connections Academy were able to maintain their education consistently and without interruption during the public health crisis.

The class of 2020 spans the state, with graduates residing in cities and towns including Edmond, Muskogee and Oklahoma City. The graduates who plan to attend two- or four-year colleges or universities are headed to schools including University of Oklahoma, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of California – Los Angeles, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Mississippi and more.

Valedictorian Julia Moser started her journey at Oklahoma Connections Academy in seventh grade and throughout the years has been involved in student council and National Honor Society. Upon graduation, Julia will study biomedical sciences at University of Central Oklahoma.

“In tenth grade, I had an incredible biology teacher that helped me understand the subject and see how amazing it is,” Julia Moser, valedictorian and graduating senior, said. “That initial passion is what led me to research more about the field and the decision to study biomedical science in college. I want to see all of the amazing things that can be done within the industry.”

Also included in this year’s standout seniors is Destiny Glaude-Robinson, Oklahoma Connections Academy’s salutatorian. Destiny graduated a semester early and was able to balance her schoolwork with volunteer activities and National Honor Society. Destiny was granted the Award of Excellence scholarship from the University of Oklahoma where she plans to study science or humanity. The scholarship is awarded to students with an ACT score of 31 or an SAT score of 1390 or higher. The student must also hold a GPA of 3.5 or higher or rank in the top ten percent of their class.

“We cannot overstate how proud our teachers, staff and administrators are of our graduates and what they have accomplished during their time at Oklahoma Connections Academy,” said Melissa Gregory, principal at Oklahoma Connections Academy. “It has been a privilege to be able to provide all of our students, seniors in particular, with a consistent education during these unprecedented times.”

Oklahoma Connections Academy currently serves approximately 1,020 students, providing them with a complete school experience through opportunities to develop social and emotional skills in addition to critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration abilities so they’re prepared to succeed now and as they progress through college, career and life. Oklahoma Connections Academy’s scheduling flexibility allows students to arrange their daily schedule at times that work best for the whole family and benefit their ability to learn.

Oklahoma Connections Academy is currently enrolling for the 2020-21 school year. For more information about Oklahoma Connections Academy, please visit the school’s website at www.OklahomaConnectionsAcademy.com.