COLUMBUS — Nearly 450 graduating seniors from more than 50 counties across the state recently received their high school diplomas as members of Ohio Connections Academy’s (OCA) Class of 2022.
More than 200 of those students travelled to Columbus on June 4th to participate in the online public charter school’s commencement ceremony.
“While we are a non-traditional school, each year we look forward to the opportunity to celebrate our graduates and this academic milestone with a very traditional ceremony,” said Ohio Connections Academy Superintendent Marie Hanna.
“These students came to our school in search of a learning environment that met their individual needs," she said. "This ceremony is not only a celebration of their achievement, but their determination to find an academic setting that enabled them to thrive.”
The following students from Richland County are among Ohio Connections Academy’s Class of 2022:
• Tia Marie Kelley, Butler
• Katlynn Bre’yon Merritt-Taylor, Shelby
• Lestat Damyan Asa Wade, Mansfield
Not all students from the area may be included as some asked to not be listed.
Among the Ohio Connections Academy 2022 graduates honored during the ceremony were Valedictorian Yasmeen Fleifil of West Chester (Butler County) and Salutatorian Alexis Nelan of Olmsted Township (Cuyahoga County). According to Yasmeen, she came to Ohio Connections Academy in 2017 because she needed a more flexible schedule that enabled her to also take college courses.
“Ohio Connections Academy allowed me to complete my lessons on my own time and the structure of my lessons worked well for me,” she said. “I really liked my monthly homeroom calls as it really gave me a chance to get to know my teachers more. They were always motivating and willing to help. I hope to continue to put my best effort forward and be grateful for what I have received.”
Robert Decauter, Director of the Morrill Scholarship Program at The Ohio State University was the featured commencement speaker and spoke to the achievements of the students and their commitment to leadership, scholarship, diversity and community service. He urged the students to never underestimate themselves and suggested that they’ll be surprised how resilient they are and how much they can accomplish.
“Success isn’t defined by how much money you’ve amassed, how many shiny cars you possess, or how many houses you own,” Decauter said. “Success should be based on making a positive, indelible mark on society – that is, making the world a better place to live for our children and the yet unborn.”
The Class of 2022 is the school’s 14th graduating class for the provider of high-quality, tuition-free virtual education for students in grades K–12. More than a third of the 2022 graduates indicated they plan to attend a two or four-year college/university including Miami of Ohio, Kent State University, University of Cincinnati, Mount Vernon Nazarene, Bowling Green State University and The Ohio State University. Other graduates plan to attend vocational/trade schools, enter the workforce or join the military.
Twenty-five of this year’s graduates are members of the National Honor Society while more than 100 graduated with honors (3.5 GPA or better). Twenty of the graduates received an Academic Honors Diploma from the State of Ohio in recognition of high-level coursework completion, college and career readiness tests and real-world experiences. Overall, the Class of 2022 has received more than $3.1 million dollars in college scholarships and awards.
Enrollment for Ohio Connections Academy for the 2022-2023 school year is currently open and the school is hosting online information sessions for families interested in learning more about virtual education. More information about Ohio Connections Academy is available at www.OhioConnectionsAcademy.com or by calling 1-(800) 382-6010.