By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Having lost her father to cancer, a leader of the 591-member Yukon High School Class of 2019 talked this week about the importance of being able to overcome obstacles in life.
YHS Class Valedictorian Jacie Doyle, a featured speaker at Tuesday night’s annual Commencement ceremony in Oklahoma City, shared with the audience about her father dying when she was a seventh grader.
“Each one of us has experienced a number of trials and tribulations over our lifetimes thus far,” Doyle said.
“It is in moments of hardships where we cultivate growth. After all, we must have rain in order to grow flowers.”
This week’s graduation marked the time for members of the YHS Class of 2019 to start their own adventures.
“Let the wind carry you to wherever you shall go,” Doyle advised graduating seniors. “And bloom where you are planted. Continuously radiate sunshine and positivity and kindness – that is the most powerful agent of change.
“Whatever storm floods your backyard, causes hail damage to your roof or blows your fence down, just know everything will be OK. You can rebuild and you will persevere.”
This week’s YHS graduation marked the closing of one door and the opening of another, Doyle added.
“For some, the terror of the unknown might keep you awake at night,” she said. “But for others, the thrill of adventure has truly driven you to the finish line. Either way, here we are at one of the biggest milestones of our lives.”
Doyle, who will double major in economics and finance at Oklahoma City University, gave the valedictory address during Tuesday night’s Commencement at Oklahoma State Fair Park Arena.
“Today we celebrate the moment the majority of us have dreamed of since we entered the halls of our elementary schools,” she said.
Doyle referred to the “bittersweet taste” of ending 12 chapters signifying each year of their public education journey – and the opportunity to write on a “fresh, blank page” as they start their newest chapter.
ENDINGS ARE NEVER EASY
For YHS Class of ’19 President Allison Clifft and her senior classmates, their experience at YHS has been so much more than average, mechanical or routine.
“For me, and for many of you, endings are never easy,” she said.
The class president talked about the journey she and her fellow graduates embarked on starting in pre-kindergarten, then advancing from elementary to middle school and finally high school.
“The Class of 2019 was exposed to many new experiences throughout our years here,” said Clifft, who will major in marketing at Oklahoma State University. “Together, we experienced our first MILL (Millers Improving Local Lives) Week and first Yukon-Mustang win in five years.
“Here’s to the end of our time at Yukon.”
Clifft expressed gratitude for the chance to represent her fellow graduates. She thanked her family for the unconditional love and support they’ve shown “in everything I do.”
The class president also credited her teachers and administrators for the positive impact they’ve had.
“The memories we have made here come together to form a puzzle piece that represents our time spent at Yukon,” Clifft said. “Each individual in this room was born with a unique puzzle perfectly crafted just for them.
“This day is often viewed as an ending. But, as I choose to see it, this day marks another piece placed in our puzzle. The next piece is unknown.”
As the YHS Class of 2019 prepares for life after high school, Clifft encouraged each member to “never stop searching for the next piece of your puzzle.
“For, in the end, any image you create will be beautiful and special.”
DROWNED IN LOVE, KINDNESS
In her Commencement speech, YHS Student Council President Abigail Wright talked about her experience of moving to Oklahoma during her sophomore year.
“I was drowned in the overwhelming love and kindness that Yukon High School has extended toward me,” Wright said. “I wish I could name all the people that had a huge impact on me. But I can say, ‘Friends, thanks for being there for me. For laughing uncontrollably and for making memories I’ll hold onto.”
Wright thanked YHS teachers and staff for educating her – not only about coursework, but about valuable life skills. The StuCo president, who will be a nursing major at the University of Central Oklahoma, thanked her family for pushing her to excel.
In closing, Wright encouraged fellow grads to slow down and enjoy this time, asking them to carve out their own path and live life unapologetically.
“We all come in and out of this world the same way,” she said. “What makes you who you are, is all the choices and memories you make in between. That’s what makes you unique.”