As Boulevard Academy principal, Jeff Nemcok congratulated the Third Block graduates, he welcomed family members, fellow students, and friends to the Third Block Step Day Thursday, Jan. 16.
“You did it! It's not always about how you start, but rather, how you finish,” Nemcok said. “You have officially graduated from high school and are moving on to the next stage of your life.”
He told the students that the day is called Step Day because they are taking the next step in life.
“It’s not always about how you start, but rather how you finish,” Nemcok said.
“Some people will say these were your best years,” he added. “I don’t think that is true: I believe that the best is yet to come for you. As you finish your time in high school, I hope you take the good times and memories and go on to create many new ones.”
Nemcok told students their path to the present is a different path than taken by other students.
“Certainly take pride in being a Husky, Wolf, or Bulldog, but as a student of the alternative program in Edmond, what we call Boulevard Academy, you can also take pride in taking the road less traveled,” Nemcok said.
“You can take pride in facing difficult situations and not only meeting those challenges, but also succeeding right in the midst of them.”
Like Freddy Lesseg and Shayla Foss said, “Boulevard has given me a second chance to complete high school.”
Nemcok told the students roughly 10% of all students between the ages of 16 and 21 drop out of high school yearly in the United States.
“You wonderful people are not a part of this statistic. You have beaten the odds,” Nemcok said. “You have achieved success and will go on to do great things because you have demonstrated the ability to take adversity head on and go on to beat it.
“As Kaylee Keenan said, ‘This place has saved my life.’”
Several of the recent graduates said in their farewell letter that Boulevard Academy had changed them.
“This is not the end of your learning journey, for you all have so much potential,” Nemcok said. “Never sell yourself short, be proud of yourself. Graduates, you may not remember everyone in the room today and you probably won’t remember a lot of what I’m saying ... but please take this little bit with you: Life can be hurtful, messy, and hard … but it can also be joyous, fun and wonderful.
“Ultimately, however you choose to respond to tough situations presented to you will determine what kind of person you become. I hope you continue to choose to handle challenging situations in your life with poise, maturity, and determination — the very things that have gotten you to this point. This has been a second family to many of you.”
Nemcok told the graduates they have shown resilience, hard-work, and grit. They have taken pride in their role as students at Boulevard Academy.
“At times, it was a struggle, but today is a true sign of your commitment, effort and achievement, as you are now high school graduates.
As Nemcok congratulated the students he said, “Please know, you are brilliant, remarkable, outstanding, amazing and unique. You are somebody. You were not a mistake, you are meant to be here, and you are going somewhere.”
Four award categories were recognized during the ceremony including the Superintendent’s Honor Roll recognizing students with Straight As; the Principal’s Honor Roll recognizing students with all As and Bs; the All credit Honor Roll recognizing students who earned a credit in every enrolled course and the Character Award given to students nominated by the faculty
Thursday’s graduates included: Teekaun Atchison, All Credits, Santa Fe graduate; Justice “Jess” Conney, All Credits, Santa Fe graduate; Jack Conway, All As and Bs, two Character Awards, Santa Fe graduate; Jaxson Culbreath, All As, two Character Awards, North graduate; Shayla Foss, All Credits, North graduate; Shania Greenhoward, All As and Bs, North graduate; Hunter Hobbs, All Credits, Santa Fe graduate; Dremonia “Dre” Johnson, All Credits, Santa Fe graduate; Kaylee Keenan Loftis, All As and Bs, North graduate; John Kuper, All As and Bs, Santa Fe graduate; Freddy Lesseg, All Credits, Memorial graduate; Ashley Smith, All As, Character Award, Memorial graduate; Quintin Tidmore, All Credits, North graduate; and Iesha Wilkerson, All Credits, Memorial graduate.
Other students recognized included: Amya Alexander, All Credits; Jordan Alexander, All Credits; Elizabeth Ayres, All Credits, Character Award; McKenzie Bearden, Character Award; Shania Bell, All Credits; Matthew Blackman, All Credits; Davion Bolding, All Credits, 2 Character Awards; Carter Bond, All As & Bs, 3 Character Awards; Braxton Briggs, All Credits, Character Award; Austin Broadway, Character Award; Logan Burke, All Credits, Character; Jordan Butler, All Credits; Breanna Chatman, All As & Bs; Tieya Didley, All Credits; Caleb Dilleshaw, All Credits, Character Award; Christopher Dooley, All Credits; Emily Edwards, Al Credits; Daven Eubanks, All Credits, Character Award; Kimmy Everhart, All As & Bs, Character Award; Caiden Ferguson, All Credits; Michael Fitzpatrick, 2 Character Awards; Taylor Gibson, All Credits; Chase Green, All Credits; Andrew Guzman, All As and Bs, 2 Character Awards; Isaiah Hall, All Credits, 2 Character Awards; Malaki Hesby, All Credits, Character Award; La Chea Hulsey, All Credits; Semaj (James) Jones, All Credits; Arianna Kaleikini, All As, Character Award; Avery Kearney, All Credits; Jake Knudsen, All Credits and Character Award; Micah Littlepage-Buggs, All As & Bs; Alyssa Mathis, All As & Bs, Character Award; Cody Matthews, All Credits and Character Award; Rico McKelvy, All Credits; Jasmine Means, Character Award; Nathan Milam, All Credits; DenorisOwens, All Credits; Dasha Payne, All Credits and Character Award; HannahReynolds, All Credits; and Brayden Rose, All Credits; Rylan Scarborough, Character Award; Corey Seal, All Credits; Diyaune Smith, All Credits, Character Award; Isaiah Smith, All Credits, Character Award; Aaron Stewart, All Credits; Michaela Stoddard, All Credits; Hailee Vance, All As & Bs; Gianna Williams, All As & Bs, Character Award; and Hunter Wood, All As, Character Award.
Students Cody Matthews and Brayden Rose were recognized for their Perfect Attendance and received $5 gift cards.
Newly classified seniors with 17 or more credits included: Matthew Blackman, Breanna Chatman, Kimmy Everhart, Michael Fitzpatrick, Sylvia Howard, Rashae Meely, Rico McKelvy, Kaleb Mitchem, and Gianna Williams.
So far this year there have been 30 students graduating from Boulevard Academy. Block 1 had eight students, Block 2 had eight students, and Block 3 had 14 students.