‘Immensely proud:’ OMHS students receive diplomas during 25th commencement exercise

Published 6:32 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

Parents proudly watched on as the Oak Mountain High School class of 2024 marched across the stage to accept their diplomas during the school’s 25th commencement exercise on Thursday, May 23 at Samford University’s Pete Hanna Center.

Out of the graduating class of 392 graduates in OMHS’ class of 2024, 197 have reported receiving scholarships and 59 students have scored a 30 or above on the ACT. The class of 2024 have been offered scholarships and awards totaling $11,693,919.

“I’m immensely proud of all we have accomplished together during our time at Oak Mountain High School,” Salutatorian Madison McCullars said to her fellow graduates. “This day is the culmination of our hard work and dedication over the past four years and a commencement into a new chapter of our lives.”

During her speech, McCullars reflected on the class’s time at Oak Mountain High School, including how timid they once were and how uncertain things were.

“Over the last four years, we’ve blossomed into independent and capable individuals,” she said. “We’ve learned from our experiences and undergone significant growth physically and mentally.”

She said that often times people are accustomed to feeling like change is bad or something to be feared but that the class of 2024 stands as proof that that assertion isn’t true.

“As we go our separate ways, my hope is that we will continue to push ourselves past our limits without fear or defeat and embrace transformation,” McCullars said.

When addressing his fellow classmates, Valedictorian John Fletcher found that a lesson in the simple, classic story of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” contained a nugget of truth that could help them in the future.

Fletcher shared that people typically interpret the book as a lesson on putting too much value in material possessions but instead, he found a different truth.

“I believe the Grinch had a goal to make these people unhappy, so he tried to make them unhappy by stealing all of their stuff,” Fletcher said. “And when he did everything he could to achieve his goal, they were still happy.”

Fletcher highlighted how sometimes our goals don’t go exactly as planned but the outcome we find ourselves in might be a better one.

“We will inevitably find disturbances in our lives as we chase different goals and dreams that knock us off course leaving us struggling to get back in the right direction,” he said. “But we need to have faith in ourselves and each other that we are going to make it through. And more importantly, we need to enjoy life in the meantime while we go through all these triumphs and struggles in these upcoming years. Because in forty-something, fifty-something years, when we all retire, we are going to remember that some of the best moments of our lives were these shorts years that we had in high school and college.”

Shortly after, the class of 2024 capitalized on Fletcher’s message as they walked across the stage to accept their diplomas and later turned their tassels in recognition of the completion of one of the most foundational times in their lives.