For a student, graduating at the top of their class is an accomplishment that speaks to their dedication, responsibility, and focus, as well as a healthy dose of brainpower.
This year at Oakdale High School, there are three students who will cross the stage at graduation who’ve earned the titles that honor them as having the highest grade point averages amongst their peers. Two students tied for Valedictorian, Korinne Baxter and Garrett Martin, and the Salutatorian is Michael Homer. They have all attended Oakdale schools for their whole lives.
Each of the graduating seniors shared their plans about where they’ll attend college and offered some insights to their academic success.
“My parents encouraged good study habits,” Baxter said. “I don’t watch a lot of TV. I pay attention in class and turn all (my) work in.”
Her parents are Lynda and Barry Baxter, she also has a younger sister and brother.
Baxter will attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and plans to become a nurse practitioner.
She’s played piano for many years and is active in her church. She’s a member of the school’s ‘S’ Club and PHAST. She also played tennis and was on the swim team at OHS. She acknowledged that playing sports made keeping her grades up more of a challenge.
“I’ve always tried to keep good grades,” she said. “Education has always been important to me.”
Martin reported that there are a lot of teachers in his family so there has been a lot of emphasis on education, adding that it’s always been expected that he’d do well in school.
“I don’t really do anything different than anyone else,” he said modestly when asked about the secret to his academic success.
He offered that it’s important to always have a goal.
“I knew I wanted to go to a good college, needed to have good grades,” he said. “But that alone isn’t enough.”
He rounded out his high school career playing football and golf. Earlier in his high school years, he also played baseball and basketball. He was also involved in CSF (California Scholarship Federation), and outside of school he’s had a sheep project in a local 4-H club.
Martin will attend UC Berkeley and has an undeclared major but is interested in both history and law. His parents are Bret and Cheri Martin, and he has a younger brother.
“I’ve been both self-motivated and have had strong influence from my parents to do well,” Homer said.
His parents are Jim and Jane Homer. He has one older brother, three younger sisters, and one younger brother.
Homer served this year as the student board member to the Oakdale Joint Unified School District’s Board of Trustees. He was also in leadership, ‘S’ club, CSF, and was a member of the Academic Decathlon team. He has also played soccer and been on the school track team.
He will attend UC Berkeley this fall. He said he applied as a history major but is keeping is options open.
“I feel like there’s a lot to discover, other opportunities,” Homer said. “Who knows what will happen.”
The students offered some advice to other students for keeping up their grades in school.
“Don’t get distracted, there’s lots of distractions in high school,” Martin said.
Baxter added that students should “be focused” and Homer offered that students should “be well-rounded.”
The Oakdale High School graduation ceremony will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 27 at the OHS stadium. See related story (Page A3) for more information about other local school graduation dates and times.