Friday marked a special time for many Oasis Academy College Prep graduates.
Since the beginning of the academy in 2011, many graduates have attended the school since its inception, a significant milestone mentioned by Rochelle Tisdale, the high school’s executive director.
“We recognize students including those who began at Oasis when they were in fifth grade in 2011,” she said.
Tisdale then spoke about the 40 students and their achievements, and where their next step in life will take them. She noted many graduates plan to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, while others will attend an out-of-state university. Several others are interested in the military. Oasis has had many junior and seniors enrolled in the Jump Start program with Western Nevada College whereby they earn college credit for their core classes and receive an associate degree. WNC awarded diplomas Monday in Carson City.
She also told the standing room audience of family and friends at the City-County Gym at Venturacci Park about the students’ activities outside the classroom such as dance competition with the local Dancing with the Stars, playing on the athletic teams which formed during their years at Oasis or completing an Eagle Scout project for the school.
Keith Mason, the highest ranking student in the Class of 2019, gave a light-hearted speech filled with thought-provoking comments. He said the class bids their farewells to many great teachers who have helped them, who as a class, received more than a half-million dollars in scholarships.
“This is also the beginning of a whole new world,” he said.
Mason said his classmates have made friends for life, but it was time for them to spread their wings. Looking back, though, he said many classmates took chances to enroll in Oasis when it first opened its doors eight years ago. Now, he said, both the older and newer students are graduating together.
“We are all family,” he said.
Jason Guinasso, board chairman of the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority, delivered the keynote address. He acknowledged the class and said he’s honored to be a part of this important day for them. Guinasso also acknowledge the students as the first Oasis class to take a chance on attending a new high school and completing a four-year program.
“What you have experienced is truly, truly unique,” he said.
Guinasso said Oasis Academy leads the way of what high quality education looks like in Nevada.
“You are the example of what Oasis is doing right in education,” he added.
The Incline attorney discussed three characteristics of what makes the students successful: autonomy, innovation and accountability. He said for autonomy to work, students have “amazing teachers” and school leaders. Innovation, he said, does things differently.
“You are a group of people who do high school differently,” he said.
Guinasso commended every student for earning both college and high-school credits.
The last pillar, accountability, is producing results. He noted Oasis Academy has had a graduation rate of 100 percent for the past two years and is in the top tier of Nevada high schools.
“You set the standard high and a way to deliver a high quality education,” he said of the Oasis administration and staff. “Results are not just numbers … but they are you.”
Graduates: Jose Luis Acala Ramos, Myrella Angrisani, Bogart Baca, Megan Behimer, Jamie Bekiares, Jacob Betterbed, Breanna Catlin, Haley Duke, Janell Ferrenburg-Pike, Nathan Gatlin, Katlynn Hanks, Kenyen Hicks, Iliana Hockenberry-Grimes, Savannah Jimenez, Caden Johnson, Hannah Jones, Matthew Keeney, Nicole Klein, Randy Manley, Keith Mason, Tregalia Miller, Joel Mincer, Jordan Moon, Patrick Morrow, Brenden Norman-Leary, Trenton Nuckolls, Jazmine Perez, Kaylynn Perez, Abby Pike, Serenity Resendez, Christifer Rogers, Joseph Rowan, Brooke Shyne, Mariah Snooks, Yamile Stark, Cassidy Stremler, Matthew Swirczek, Elizabeth VanBurskirk, Kaylie Jo Wright, Ashley Youles.