Memories were made and tears were shed as the Claremore High School Class of 2014 said their goodbyes to teachers, administrators and classmates following Thursday evening’s commencement at Lantow Field.
Claremore High School Principal Todd Steidley formally thanked all 284 graduates for their many successes.
Senior class president Spencer Gill reminded graduates to never stop appreciating family, close friends and the everyday people around them.
“To the class of 2014, I can only brush the surface of how stupendous you all truly are. With one of the highest valedictorian counts this school has ever seen, and more student athletes than I ever thought possible, you guys definitely have it in you to do great things in the world,” Gill said in his speech. “Don’t forget those who have helped get you where you are today. Whether they’re your friends or your family, whether they’re here voluntarily or by force, whether they helped a little or a lot — give thanks to those around you.”
Michael McClaren, Claremore superintendent and 2014 Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence administrator of the year, presented the first high school diploma of the evening to Gill, before the valedictorian announced graduates’ names to receive their diploma.
This year’s senior class had a total of 25 valedictorians, 17 Oklahoma Scholars, an elected Oklahoma Association of Student Council state vice president, an academic all-stater and 63 National Honor Society members. The class average ACT score was 22.2 and the plethora of academic accomplishments has led to several million dollars in college scholarships earned, Steidley said.
In athletics, the girls basketball team were named OSSAA Class 6A academic state champions, girls soccer earned a district championship title and the team produced two all-staters, The academic team finished second in Class 6A, continuing its tradition of excellence by finishing in the top two for the ninth consecutive year.
The boys soccer team produce two all-staters, the boys and girls tennis team finished top 10 in the state and girls tennis won the academic achievement award.
The softball team also won the distinguished academic achievement award and were regional champions. The team produced eight all-district players and three all-state players.
Boys track broke several school records, including records in the 3200-meter relay, placing first for the first time in school history. Members also set records in the 1600-meter relay, the 400-meter relay dash, 200-meter dash and 800-meter dash. One member set a state track meet record in the 400-meter dash with a time of 46.99.
The Zebra baseball team won districts and regional championships this year, and head coach Brent Payne has been selected as a national coach of the year finalist and will attend a ceremony in Jackson Hole, Wyo. this summer.
Claremore FFA won state championships in agriculture, horse judging, anamology and were state runner-ups in nursery landscaping. Thirty-six FFA members received state awards and 25 of them are members of the class of 2014.
CHS choir produced five all-state members and earned first place in the Class 6A NOC State Vocal Jazz competition, as well as produced the musical “South Pacific.”
Marching band earned the distinguished academic achievement award and winter guard brought home a Scholastic B State Championship trophy.