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Taylor Hay named as Class of ‘24 Salutatorian
OHS Salutatorian Taylor Hay

Some might say Taylor Hay is more than academically sharp, she’s a ball of energy far from being contained.

Now the former Fair Oaks Falcon and current Oakdale High School senior will put her smarts and energy to task as the 2024 OHS Salutatorian. An honor bestowed upon the premium of the Class of 2024, Hay recently shared while it wasn’t her focus, she’s also proud to be speaking before her classmates come graduation on Friday, May 25.

“I knew that I was always going to be a competitor, but I didn’t really imagine that it would be the top,” she said of making top two in her class.

Admittedly never earning a B or below, Hay shared early in the current school year she figured the honor might be coming her way.

Now as she prepares her speech for graduation day, she’s also busying herself for a future move southward, where she will attend University of Southern California.

Hay plans to major in Sociology with a minor in English on a pre-law track. Her end goal is to eventually be a corporate attorney. A field she shared she became drawn to watching her father in his corporate profession.

Yet it wasn’t USC out of the gate for this OHS senior. Hay was accepted to both UCLA, as well as USC.

“As for USC I think it was a good fit for me and my character because I’m very much a nerd and I love school and I am very academically driven,” she said. “But, I also love the big school, big sport and campus life atmosphere. I think that’s something USC had a good balance of.”

While attending OHS, Hay has been active in cheerleading and track and field all four years. Three of her four years she was involved as an officer with the Leadership Class.

“Leadership has definitely been a big part of my life,” she stated.

She further shared that English is her favorite subject, with a special fondness for writing and literature.

“Oakdale High School I think has an especially good English program,” she said. “I’ve had very strong bonds with my English teachers which I think makes a big difference in how you feel about it.”

Always drawn toward language and reading, Hay continued to share her thoughts on Oakdale schools.

“As much as we’re a small town that’s very big on Friday night football games and that sort of stuff,” she said. “I think people also underestimate how strong the school system is and I think I’ve had very good teachers who are always very much looking out for you and always very much guiding you towards higher education.”

Looking ahead to her future dorm life and picking a roommate, Hay said she feels Oakdale has helped her prepare for higher education. As for her 10-year plan, her goals are set and sights set on adventure as well.

“I would love to in these 10 years travel as much as possible,” she noted. “When I’m in college I want to study abroad. That’s been a very big part of my life with my family. We’ve always traveled, and I love that kind of experience.

“As much as I’ve loved high school, I think my personality is more made for college and that kind of environment,” she continued. “I’m just very self-driven, very intrinsically motivated and I just think I’ll have new opportunity for experiences and finding my people.”

For the immediate future however, she has a speech to prepare and give to a large group in the Corral come May 25; a feat which might have some apprehensive, but not Hay.

“I like being in front of large crowds, but I am a little bit nervous,” she said, noting a long history of dancing and performing. “More so for what am I going to say. This is my final mark, what am I going to say to everyone. Is it going to be funny? Is it going to be heartfelt? So, I’m a little nervous about that. But I do think it’s a really great opportunity and I’m really glad that I’ve gotten to this point where I get to do that in front of everyone.”

And as for the students coming up behind her, the classes who have yet to look forward to this exciting day, Hay has some sound advice.

“Focus on building relationships with people and enjoying the moment you’re in,” she said. “Things can be very stressful; things can be dramatic in high school. There’s a lot going on, but I think at the end of the day you want to look back on experiences you’ll remember fondly.”