Oakdale High School’s academic movers and shakers were honored recently with the “Doing High School Right” breakfast for the first semester.
The Dec. 13 breakfast took place in the school cafeteria and is held each semester as part of the OHS Renaissance program to support academic achievement and improvement.
OHS college counselor Denise Hitch reported that the students recognized were nominated by staff because they are either excelling in school or making strides to improve their academic performance. Also recognized were some students who brought up their GPA an entire grade point or more, and academic teams that competed this year.
Hitch said that the reason for the breakfast is to celebrate the students’ success and to keep the focus on academics and learning.
“It’s an opportunity to showcase that we can seek out improvement academically and it feels good to do well in school,” she said.
A total of 78 students were invited to the breakfast. They received either a special Renaissance T-shirt or a lanyard and dined on giant cinnamon rolls with icing, orange juice, and milk, while Hitch emceed the event.
“Some of you are here because you were nominated by teachers for doing high school right, some of you are here because you are the top 20 seniors, some of you won the American Heritage Essay Contest, and there are nine who brought up your GPAs more than anyone else in the high school,” Hitch said.
Each student at the breakfast was given a ticket and prizes were given out through a drawing. Oakdale AT&T store owner Ward Hennigan donated several prizes including a smartphone, a cellphone speaker adapter, a Bluetooth, and Steve Jobs’ book. Senior Danny Wong was the lucky winner of the smartphone.
For the nine students who improved their GPAs the most from the end of last school year, they received $50 gift cards from Hennigan for his store.
He also briefly addressed the students about the high number of deaths associated with texting and driving and said that it now outranks DUI deaths. He added that the largest group of people killed in relation to the activity is 16- to 19-year-olds. He encouraged them to pull off to the side of the road to send or read texts because they are too important to their families. Further, he advocated using Bluetooth technology and said he’d also give the Renaissance students 50 percent off a Bluetooth in the store.
Other prizes included gift cards to Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Target, and baskets of “49er stuff,” tackle from Bass Pro Shops, an iTunes card and earbuds, an iPod Shuffle, and “college bags.”
Encouraging the students to stay focused on improving academically is a key component of the Renaissance program.
“You give them a taste of how good that (achievement) feels and they’re going to want to keep moving up that GPA ladder,” Hitch said.
She added that the OHS Renaissance program is sponsored by the Academic Boosters, the school district, and Oakdale Educational Foundation.