Oakdale High School seniors Elizabeth White and Taryn Lane have spent the better part of the past four years following the same academic path. On Friday, May 26 the young women will bid farewell to this chapter of their academic journey as they address the OHS Class of 2017 one final time.
White will speak on the future of the class as the 2017 Valedictorian, while Salutatorian Lane will travel down a bit of memory lane as she recalls days from their past.
Both young women are looking forward to a future which includes attendance at University of California Los Angeles this fall.
“I was deciding between UCLA and UC San Diego,” Lane said. “As soon as I visited UCLA I thought I definitely want to go here.”
Lane plans to major in Biology, while White has chosen Neuro Science as her major.
White shared she’s excited about the opportunity to attend UCLA and branch out into a larger community.
“Change is good,” she said of her choice in college. “I really like the idea of leaving because I get to be exposed to so many different cultures. So many different people, compared to little Oakdale. It’s kind of like starting a new life.”
As chosen speakers representing the Class of 2017, the young women shared their pride in their class, as well as the education they’ve received at Oakdale High School.
“I feel like we have a pretty strong academic class,” White stated. “I feel like a lot of them really get involved and are really competitive (academically and athletically).”
Point positive to the academic standard is Lane’s four year participation as a competing team member of the Academic Decathlon team. An experience she touts as the most memorable of her high school career. During her four years of participation the OHS senior broke numerous records at both the school and county level.
“The thought that we could have such great teachers in such a small town is really awesome,” White said of feeling prepared for college. “Considering it’s a one high school town; all the good teachers are in this one high school.”
While the duo are practicing their speeches for Friday night’s ceremony, they did admit to being a bit nervous at the idea of addressing such a large crowd.
“I’m really nervous because it’s the entire town, I feel like,” Lane said. “I’m comfortable with it, but I’ve never spoken in front of this many people before.”
As for their post college lives, both graduates are uncertain of what it will hold, yet have an idea of where they would like the path to lead.
White anticipates an extended college career, with sights set on medical school. Her participation with the Oakdale Chamber Job Shadow program earlier this month helped solidify that goal.
White was given opportunity to shadow Dr. Edward Chock, MD, which included being present for a gall bladder removal.
“He was very nice and very welcoming,” she said of the Oakdale doctor, “and was a good teacher during all of it.”
The senior recognized that while the experience may have made some squeamish, it actually made her more excited about the field of medicine.
Lane shared her Career Day experience also piqued increased interest in her chosen major of Biology. While she does not plan to continue education beyond her four years at UCLA, she is entertaining the idea of pursuing a profession in the field of marine biology.
When posed with the question of advice for underclassmen or incoming freshmen, both young women offered sound words.
“Work hard but don’t work yourself too hard,” Lane said. “Enjoy the present and try to make the most of your high school years. Manage school and create memories.”
“Don’t be scared of getting yourself involved and getting yourself out there,” White offered. “Stop caring about what other people think, just do the stuff you love.”
Now, with four years of high school and the first chapter of their academic career behind them, White and Lane are off to do just that … live what they love.