Class of 2017

Class orator reminds graduates of education, life lessons learned at Ocean Springs

Ocean Springs gradates cross the stage

A total of 399 graduating seniors crossed the stage Thursday night at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
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A total of 399 graduating seniors crossed the stage Thursday night at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

Several things can make a high school stand out at graduation. For Ocean Springs High School, though, the real question is just how many things?

As 399 graduating seniors gathered joyously Thursday night at the Gulf Coast Coliseum, they had a moment to reflect.

Some may have noted that ...

▪  Forty-one seniors scored a 30 or higher on the ACT. (The top-50 high school student average on the ACT was 30.12)

▪  Ten students qualified to be AP Scholars, five qualified to be AP Scholars with Honors and two qualified to be AP Scholars with Distinction.

▪  Principal Vickie Tiblier was named a finalist in the state’s congressional district administrator of the year program. Tiblier beat out administrators in the 4th Congressional District, which covers all school districts in 13 South Mississippi counties.

▪  The class of 2017 has 10 International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates. The class earned more than $13 million in scholarships.

Keys to success?

Before seniors crossed the stage to cap off all their hard work, the class speakers looked to those seated around them as part and parcel of their success in high school.

Lea Dudte, the valedictorian, plans to attend the University of Mississippi in the fall where she will be a member of the Sally McDonnel Barksdale Honors College and the Croft Institute for International Studies.

“I am so thankful for your support,” she told her parents. “Thank you to my dad for everything you have done to help me grow up ... and to my mom thank you the most for your constant support and advice. You are the most outstanding woman I know and I am so grateful.”

Molly Harback, the salutatorian, plans to attend Washington University in St. Louis.

Harback used the moment to reflect on the past, present and future.

“I’m speaking to you about the present moment, tonight. It is a turning point of monumental proportions ... now we will shoulder the burden of future responsibilities,” she said.

Skylar Thompson, who plans to attend the University of Alabama, was the class orator.

She noted some of the more memorable learning moments in the classroom.

“As eager young students we were eager to take on the world,” she said. “You see, what I love about Ocean Springs schools is that we get both an education and a life lesson. A lecture on the causes of the Great Depression might be followed by all the ways a teacher got into trouble as a kid, which leads to why they wanted to teach later.”

Dudte, Harback and Thompson are all International Baccalaureate diploma candidates.

School highlights

Some more class of 2017 school highlights:

▪  Simon Ladner, the STAR student for Ocean Springs High School, received a letter of commendation through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Ladner also was recognized as a U.S. Presidential Scholar candidate.

▪  Max Warren was named to the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.

Justin Vicory: 228-896-2326, @justinvicory

Ocean Springs High School

Class size: 399

Valedictorian: Lea Dudte, daughter of Benjamin and Angela Dudte

Salutatorian: Molly Harback, daughter of Gregory and Maureen Harback

Principal: Vickie Tiblier

Quote: “You see what I love about Ocean Springs schools is that we get both an education and a life lesson,” — Class orator Skylar Thompson.

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