Life’s lessons extend beyond school years for 2016 Osage City High School graduates

The 2016 Osage City High School graduates will appreciate their lives by living by the lessons they’ve learned and experiences they’ve had, two honor students advised during the Sunday, May 15, 2016, commencement ceremony.

As OCHS honor students, Kailyn Robert and Cassidy Robinett each delivered a message that concurred with the class motto by John F. Kennedy: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Robert told her classmates that experiences during high school were perhaps more part of their life education than assignments in the classroom, homework or books.

“These moments in time, the memories we made together, surpassed the importance of the grades we may have received, and ended up teaching us more than a textbook ever could,” Robert said. “… the four years that we’ve spent here have taken up nearly one quarter of our entire lives, and almost all of our happiest and most memorable experiences have in some way been related to school. I ask you to be content with this, but don’t settle with it … We should all be content with our years in high school, and looking back at them fondly doesn’t change our ability to move forward in life and reach even greater goals.”

Robinett advised classmates to use their words honestly and use their voices to help others. “I urge my classmates and others listening in the audience to find your voice if you
haven’t already,” she said. “Find the voice that will speak up when you are being bullied and find the voice that will speak up when someone else is bullied. Find the voice that speaks passionately about the subjects and matters that mean the most to you, regardless of what others might think of you. Find the voice that makes you proud of who you are and proud of what you have to say.”

With presentation of the class by Osage City High School Principal Tony Heward, USD 420 Board of Education members Todd Peterson and Ray Lauber handed diplomas to 37 OCHS seniors: Alexis Shelbie Allen, Lauren Elisabeth Anderson, Mavrick James Boren, Quinn Alexander Boyce, Tate Michael Brooks, Courtney Lynn Cooley, Kira Katelynn Corley, Layse Rodrigues de Jesus, Chelsea Marie Feltner, Taelynn Marie-Elizabeth Finan, Duncan Lane Fort, Travis Dwayne Gustafson, Annahstasia Marie Hagan, Alexis Marie Hardin, Ryan Wayne Haskins, Christian Jon Heisler, Kara Callan Hobby, Alexander James Hon, Gunner Gauge Horn, Kaleb Scott Irvin, Megan Shaye Jenkins, Coleman Marcus Johnson, Jordan Ryan Lamond, Olivia Yi Liang, Brooklynn Rae Milam, Charles Jay Murray, Gary James Murray, Shelby Lynn Murray, Trey Daniel Nelson, Kailyn Marie Robert, Cassidy Lynn Robinett, Joseph Wayne Schemm, Riley Simone Schubert, Makayla Grace Testerman, Ethan Evan Cole Thompson, Colton Foster Tyler, Peter Joseph Nathaniel Whitlock.


Honor Student Speeches

By OCHS Honor Student Kailyn Robert

I’ll be honest with you guys; I procrastinated on this speech. And would it really be a high school project if I hadn’t? I’ve spent the last four years of my life waiting until the last second, literally, to finish projects, papers and presentations. After each stressful deadline passed, I asked myself why I procrastinated to the point of walking down the high school hallway, laptop in hand, finishing the last paragraph of an essay due in approximately two minutes and 35 seconds; and after thinking long and hard about it, it’s because I found more meaningful opportunities to fill my time with. By the way, I can literally sense my mom rolling her eyes right now. Just kidding mom, I love you.

Instead of working on an outline, I talked to my friends until 2 in the morning, laughing and eating ice cream straight out of the tub. Rather than studying for an English final, we all went to basketball games to cheer until we lost our voices. These moments in time, the memories we made together, surpassed the importance of the grades we may have received, and ended up teaching us more than a textbook ever could.

While we ignored the deadlines looming over our heads, my classmates and I learned what it felt like to share success with our peers, how to respond to difficulties, when to let stuff go, and why some things work out in our favor, while others don’t. All of these lessons are valuable and pertinent in life after high school, and they are what will help us succeed in the ever-changing world we live in. I consider myself very lucky to have experienced all of these life lessons with my peers since kindergarten, but now, as I realize our time of seeing each other at least 5 days a week has come to an end, I have one final request for all of my classmates. What I ask of all of you is that you not settle for only what you have achieved in high school, but to take those accomplishments and the lessons we’ve learned to create an even better future for yourself.

You see, high school, thus far, has been the greatest part of most of our lives. The four years that we’ve spent here have taken up nearly one quarter of our entire lives, and almost all of our happiest and most memorable experiences have in some way been related to school. I ask you to be content with this, but don’t settle with it. Now initially the difference between these two words may not seem obvious, but differentiating between them is key.

Contentedness is the act of feeling satisfied and happy, but still realizing there are greater things to accomplish. We should all be content with our years in high school, and looking back at them fondly doesn’t change our ability to move forward in life and reach even greater goals. Settling, on the other hand, is assuming that life will never be better after high school, and so because one is trapped in this mindset, their life becomes dull and unsatisfying. Be content, but never settle.

So what do I truly mean by this? Instead of only ever being a team member on the state champion basketball team of 20I6, go on to coach a team that wins state. Don’t settle with being in the high school play for a few years, but utilize the skills you gained to succeed in theater in college and even after that. Don’t close yourself off from potential relationships because you already have friends from high school, but apply what you learned in school about maintaining friendships to foster even greater relationships. Take joy in experiencing new adventures, starting your own family, and using what we were taught in high school to make your life greater than you ever imagined.

And, as a matter of fact, keep procrastinating. Continue to put things off while you discover greater ideas, greater people, and greater aspects of yourself. Allow yourself to be distracted by an opportunity that could take you even farther in life. And most of all, never settle. Look back at our years in high school with pride, happiness, and contentedness, then move to find even greater amounts of these things later on down the road. After all, we are the class of going places.


By Honor Student Cassidy Robinett

As babies, we began to speak and to babble around the age of 6 to 9 months. Our parents listened to us coo and repeat with poor enunciation, the words that they told us to say. As we grew older, we began to not just speak, but to have a voice. This voice stated what we liked, what we disliked, how we felt, what we were thinking; an endless amount of demands and requests that we spewed at our parents, but the older we grew, the more our voice developed, and we began to not just talk and demand, but to truly speak and to speak with a purpose.

Each and every one of us sitting in the audience found our voice at a different age. For me, it was at the ripe old age of 3, when angrily being sent to my room by my dad, I began talking under my breath. As most parents do when they hear their child do this, my dad asked, “Do you have something to say?” While he expected me to mutter a hushed “no” under my breath, my sassy 3-year-old self turned around one hand on hip, one hand with a pointed finger in the air and let him know, “Actually, I do.” While taken aback at my response, it was in that moment that my dad knew that I had “found my voice.”

In elementary school I often wound up in trouble for not what I call “talking” but “using my voice.” My “voice” had not yet developed a filter and often I spoke exactly what was on my mind. If I thought the game or book my teacher had was boring, I let them know … not something they really wanted to hear from their second grader. As I grew older I learned to use my voice in a more productive way, speaking up and voicing my opinion about subjects that really mattered to me and subjects that I wanted others to care about as well.

The first experience I clearly remember about using my voice was in the sixth grade. At the time, one sixth-grader from each seminar was allowed to join Student Council, and to join, you had to win the vote from your classmates. We were allowed to speak to our classmates and give them our promises of what we would do if elected into Stuco. I asked a few fellow students what they would like to see done, and included those articles in my speech and listed off the wishes that I would magically grant as the sixth-grade representative of Student Council. I used my voice to speak to my classmates about matters they cared about. After winning the vote, I went and attempted to enact the wishes I promised. Unsurprisingly, the wishes of the sixth-graders were unfeasible and unnecessary. I felt poorly for my failed attempt and that I had misled my classmates. It was then that I learned about how to effectively use my voice and I also got a lesson in how politics work. If you make false promises you’ll more than likely get what you want.

However, I do not like living my life on false promises and from there, I reevaluated how I would use my voice. I would do my very best to keep my words honest, to use them to help others, and to never stay quiet if something wasn’t right.  I urge my classmates and others listening in the audience to find your voice if you haven’t already. Find the voice that will speak up when you are being bullied and find the voice that will speak up when someone else is bullied. Find the voice that speaks passionately about the subjects and matters that mean the most to you, regardless of what others might think of you.

Find the voice that makes you proud of who you are and proud of what you have to say. Not only that, I urge my fellow millennial classmates to not only find your voice on social media but to find and use your voice in all of the settings that may arise and that allow you to use it. And if the instance ever occurs where you feel unsure of whether to speak up or to remain silent, I hope that you can remember the words of Malala Yousafzai, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

Photo thanks to Osage City High School.


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