AUGUSTA — Family members and friends walking past the hallway where the graduating class lined up snapped last-minute photos of the students.

The audience cheered as each member of Oak Hill High School’s 110 student graduating class walked up the steps of the stage in the Augusta Civic Center auditorium to accept their diplomas.

Valedictorian Oleg Wing’s light-hearted speech focused on moving past high school, and he said he didn’t want to discuss the many fantastic moments the class experienced at Oak Hill High School.

“WIth regard to the future, I am not entirely sure what to say, having not been there myself,” he said. “It is uncertain if there is a bright future out there or not, however, there will be experiences. Hopefully, entertaining ones.”

Wing said someone told him before high school that the next four years would be the greatest of his life.

“With the last four years drawing to a conclusion, I can honestly say I hope not,” Wing said to a round of applause and cheering from the audience.

He joked that he would have prefered if the school had pool, but said the more important reason is that reaching a peak now would be anti-climatic.

“Only being one-fourth dead on average, it would truly be a disappointment if the next 60 years were spent deteriorating,” Wing said, “and so I hope there is improvement to come.”

Kyle Gordon, salutatorian of the class of 110 students, reflected on he and his classmates have gained at school.

“Our Oak Hill education has taught us more than English, science, math and social studies,” he said. “It has taught us to live, love and be proud of who we are.”

Gordon told the audience he wanted to be a biologist or doctor earlier in his high school careers because that’s what he thought what was expected of him.

Instead, he’s choosing his passion: music.

“Doing something because you love it is more than reason enough to do it,” Gordon said. “Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

He also gave practical advice to his classmates.

“Each of you lead your own life, and you must be the one to decide how to lead it,” Gordon said. “But please at least keep yourself clean. You’ll never displease more people with a single action than by practicing poor hygiene.”

Most of the graduating class walked into the auditorium holding red roses for family members and friends who had supported them.

Before receiving their diplomas, students fanned out into the audience to hand out the flowers while the graduation and prom-favorite “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack playing over the loudspeakers.

Presenters also gave out scholarships to graduating seniors during the ceremony.

Principal Patricia Doyle announced the awarding of a National Merit Scholarship to Gwenyth Fraser. Doyle said she believes Fraser is the first recipient of the scholarship from Oak Hill High School.

From the graduating class of 110, 69 plan on going to post-secondary schooling, 16 are joining the military and 25 are going into the workforce, according to Doyle.

Gordon concluded his speech by comparing his classmates’ post-high school lives to the morning after high school. The night, he said, serves their time of celebration.

“The time has come to make wiser decisions, but right now, this summer, this moment in our proverbial night, we have one last moment to enjoy our fleeting childhood. So as they say, YOLO,” Gordon said, referring to the acronym for you only live once.

“So take this opportunity, class of 2013, to be the children you once were and become the adults you were always destined to be.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5664
[email protected]

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