More than 200 graduating seniors from all over Ohio (more than 30 from north eastern Ohio) were recently presented their diplomas during the Ohio Connections Academy (OCA) 2014 commencement held at the Columbus Convention Center.
“We celebrate the accomplishments of our 2014 graduates. All of the faculty and staff at Ohio Connections Academy are proud of the hard work, determination and focus that each of these student demonstrated to reach this academic milestone,” said OCA Superintendent Marie Hanna. “We consider the students and their families a part of our community. We appreciate the opportunity that we had to work with all of them individually. We are certain that the Class of 2014 is ready to tackle whatever challenges lie ahead.”
This was the sixth graduating class for the state’s leading provider of high-quality virtual education for students in grades K–12. Of the OCA graduates, almost 60 percent have indicated they plan to attend two or four-year colleges and universities including Ohio State University, University of Toledo, Miami University, Wittenberg University, John Carroll University, Ohio University, Ashland University, and Sinclair Community College.
Among the 2014 graduates, nearly 20 achieved National Honor Society status. One graduate is a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, another received the highest possible score on the ACT. Other graduates include a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, a National Merit Eaton Scholarship recipient and a winner of the National YoungArts Foundation award. Altogether, the OCA Class of 2014 has received a total amount in scholarships that exceeds $2.8 million.
Among the OCA graduates recognized during today’s ceremony was 2014 Valedictorian Sarah Lewandowski of West Chester, who will be attending Lee University in Cleveland, TN and plans to pursue a degree in Psychology.
"Attending Ohio Connections Academy has been a privilege both academically and in my extracurricular activities. The flexibility that OCA offered allowed me to get a part time job and work mornings at a local veterinary office as a way to learn and prepare for my desired career as a service dog trainer,” Lewandowski said. “OCA has also challenged me academically and, although it hasn't always been easy, I know the education I have received from OCA has allowed me to grow as a student and as a person."
This year’s commencement speaker, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French, congratulated the students for their academic achievement and for taking the opportunity to find the environment that best suited their needs.
“Today we celebrate the academic achievements of these students but we also recognize their perseverance and determination to find the learning environment that best suited their needs and ensured academic success,” Justice French said.
Ohio Connections Academy delivers top quality, personalized education for students that combines certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences to create a supportive and successful environment for children who want an individualized approach to education. More than 3,200 Ohio students were enrolled in OCA in the 2013-2014 academic year.
2014 Cleveland area OCA graduates: Row 1 (l-r): Sueheidy Rivera, Cleveland; Elisa Gomez, Aurora; Ann Invanoa, Cleveland; Carly Bevaqua, Parma; Noelle Abuoun, North Olmstead; Preya Jones, Cleveland. Row 2 (l-r): Liesel Schuster, Brunswick; Jeffrey Dennis, Jr., Cleveland; Eric Rivers, Jr., Euclid; David Harvey, Akron.