Prior to this school year, Blair Oaks High School faculty and staff were concerned about the Class of 2022.
They lacked motivation, as counselor Jill Shanley said. Or, as basketball coach Ryan Fick put it, they needed a "kick in the backside."
So they met with class members in groups and individually. Ultimately, the class -- which graduated Sunday night -- proved they were capable of greatness, Shanley said.
"We saw tremendous potential (for them) not to be good, but to be great. And this class lived up to that potential," she said during Sunday's graduation ceremonies at the Blair Oaks Athletic Complex.
Of the 120 graduates, 57 are going into a four-year college/university, while 43 are entering a two-year program. Sixteen are entering the workforce and four are going into the military.
Shanley said her goal was for the class to get $1.5 million in scholarships, and it ended up topping $2.1 million.
Six students graduated cum laude, 13 graduated magna cum laude and 16 were summa cum laude. Eighteen are members of the National Honor Society. Ten will enter college sports.
The volleyball team won the first volleyball state championship in school history, while the softball team won its second state championship for the school. The archery team placed third at nationals and had the individual national champion.
Still, Principal Chris Marshall said: "Your biggest accomplishments are yet to come."
The class chose Fick as the commencement speaker. From this point forward, he told the class, that their lives are blank canvases. They get to choose what to make of them.
He offered them three points of advice: Find something you love, develop grit and compete.
If they find something they love, they'll never work a day in their lives, he said. Developing grit means pursuing your passion through frustrations and setbacks. And competing means that you always have to be in pursuit and keep moving forward.
"It's hard to outwork passionate people," he said.
"Congrats on this milestone," he said. "What's next? I can't wait to find out."
Blair Oaks graduation, part 1: https://www.facebook.com/1489163944673451/videos/1045578983002833
Blair Oaks graduation, part 2: