After a year of remote learning and delayed or cancelled events, the Oaks Christian High School class of 2021 celebrated their graduation – complete with Pomp and Circumstance and the full regalia - in front of family and friends at Thorson Stadium on May 27. With a beautiful California sunset as the backdrop, the outdoor event saw 269 seniors, including fully-online students, receive their diplomas to cheers and hollers from the socially distanced crowd.
“It is such an honor and a blessing to be here with all of you today, especially after the crazy year that we have had,” said Head Prefect Morgan Chobanian as she welcomed the guests.
The seniors not only lived through COVID-19, but as sophomores they were also affected by the Woosley Fire and Borderline shooting.
“We have battled the difficulties wrought by COVID-19 and have been the first class in Oaks Christian history to complete, arguably, the most difficult semesters of high school completely online… For conquering the seen and unseen these past four years, I could not be prouder to be standing with you now,” said Class President Ashley Hopkins.
Claire Nguyen was the valedictorian and will attend Bowdoin College in Maine and major in biology or biological chemistry with an eye toward the medical field. Adrien Badakhsh was named salutatorian and will study engineering at UC Berkeley.
Collectively, over four years, the seniors participated in 100 visual and performing arts events, won 24 athletic league titles, six CIF championships and created 28 clubs, and engaged in pre-professional internships.
They received 1,070 acceptances to 247 different colleges, with 46% admitted to highly selective colleges. A total of 46 athletes will compete at the collegiate level, 52 are entering STEM fields and 24 will pursue the arts. To date, this group has earned $8 million in scholarships.
Given the past year and challenges the class of 2021 faced it was fitting the class verse was Romans 15:13: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Keynote speaker, Timothy Kight, founder and CEO of Focus 3, encouraged the graduates to focus on active hope (hope that takes disciplined action to pursue the future versus passive hope), a topic he has studied for 40 years.
“The presence of hope shapes how people go about their lives and do their work. I have also observed how the absence of hope affects people,” he said. “Active hope gives you four very powerful things: strength of will, focus, energy and resilience. …make sure that the habits you have today are in alignment with the hopes that you have for tomorrow. Use the next few years to find your focus, clarify your hopes and get on the path to making your dreams come true. And as you do that remember your Biblical theme: The God of Hope.
Senior Award Recipients
|Weinberg Spiritual Leadership Award||Troy Cole|
|Dallas Price-Van Breda Artistic Expression Award||Makaila Teagle|
|David Price Leadership Award||Morgan Chobanian|
|Jefferson Lee and Brendan Thomas Crockett Courage Award||Alexandra Moore|
|Head of School Award||Jalan Jaffe|
|Unsung Hero Award||Laila Harris|
Valedictorian/Salutatorian Photos by Cornerstone Photography
Graduation Photos by Blanca Schnobrich