Blair Oaks High School's Brayden Langendoerfer advised his fellow 111 graduates to not forget where they come from or who they are as they leave high school. As class president, Langendoerfer led his classmates Sunday inside the high school gym in one last "We are Blair Oaks" chant.
He challenged the class of 2019 to act upon their many talents, and commencement speaker Sarah Bohl likewise advised to not be afraid to go after goals.
Bohl is a former Spanish teacher at Blair Oaks, coaches freshmen girls basketball there and co-owns Jefferson City Magazine, among her other business ventures. The class of 2019 chose her to speak.
Bohl recalled the motivational ways she used to start her class on Mondays, and offered the class of 2019 with five pieces of advice as they go forward into the world beyond high school:
No complaining: It doesn't help or solve problems, she said. Keep complaining to 10 minutes, and then write down what can be done to fix the problems at hand — "Be part of the solution."
Set some goals and write them down.
Go after those goals: "You can't just wait for things to come your way," she said.
"Life won't always go the way you want it to, so go with it: "Embrace that life is not always a straight line; embrace the surprising opportunities."
Celebrate: As her favorite piece of advice she encouraged them to celebrate the small and big wins.
The Blair Oaks R-2 school district's Superintendent Jim Jones celebrated the class of 2019's impact in "what has been some of the most successful years in the history of Blair Oaks," and said "we will all be blessed" with the graduates' future legacy, given their body of work over the past 13 years.
Counselor Jill Shanley noted many of the class of 2019's accomplishments, including that 13 students graduated with cumulative grade point averages of 4.0 or higher, and 54 graduated with cumulative grade point averages of 3.5 or higher.
Four students scored a 30 or higher on the ACT. Twelve students will go on to be college athletes. Shanley added the biggest and most impressive accomplishment was the more than $2 million in scholarships the class had earned.
Of the 112 graduates, she said 51 are going to a four-year college; 50 to a two-year college or technical school; eight directly into the workforce; and three into the military.
Forty-two graduates earned college prep certificates, which have requirements including earning a 3.0 grade point average or higher, scoring a 21 or higher on the ACT and having at least 95 percent attendance.
Shanley said the class of 2019 was still under a class ranking system, but was also the first graduating class to utilize a cum laude system.
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All 10 cum laude, 5 magna cum laude and 6 summa cum laude graduates had to have a 95 percent or better attendance rate.
Cum laude graduates also had a 3.75 grade point average or higher and a score of 24 or higher on the ACT; magna cum laude, 3.85 or higher grade point average and 26 or higher ACT score; summa cum laude, 4.0 or higher grade point average and 28 or higher ACT score.
Lauren Casey, Peyton Kusgen and Langendoerfer were the three valedictorians of the class of 2019.
In one word, Shanley described the class as "unexpected," because they did not arrive with any reputation, good or bad.
Instead, she said the class flew under the radar, until their academic and athletic achievements shined.
"Just like me, the world isn't going to see you coming," she said.