COLUMBUS — More than 450 graduating seniors from more than 70 counties across the state, including three local students, recently received their high school diplomas as members of Ohio Connections Academy’s (OCA) Class of 2023. More than 270 of those students traveled to downtown Columbus on June 3 to participate in the online public charter school’s commencement ceremony at the historic Ohio Theater.
Derek Smith, of Wilmington, Zoey Stanforth, of Wilmington, and Katelynn Whitt, of Blanchester are among the Ohio Connections Academy’s Class of 2023.
“While we are a non-traditional school, each year we look forward to the opportunity to celebrate our graduates and this academic milestone with a very traditional ceremony,” said Ohio Connections Academy Superintendent Marie Hanna. “These students came to our school in search of a learning environment that met their individual needs. This ceremony is not only a celebration of their achievement, but their determination to find an academic setting that enabled them to thrive.”
Among the Ohio Connections Academy 2023 graduates honored during the ceremony were valedictorian Rose Bishoff of Thornville (Perry County), and salutatorian Emily Owens, of Uniontown (Stark County). According to Rose, she enrolled in Ohio Connections Academy to have more flexibility in her schedule which would help her take more college classes through the state’s College Credit Plus Program. She said her advisors at Ohio Connections Academy were very helpful and put her on a pathway to achieve things she didn’t think were possible.
“Ohio Connections Academy is on your team when it comes to you as a student, they will support your academic goals, and guide you when you need it,” she said. “They allowed me to individualize my education so I could meet my goals. And I did. Thanks to Ohio Connections Academy I am now on an early path to getting my bachelor’s degree.”