EDMOND—Thirteen Imperial Academy seniors received their graduation diplomas on May 23 at the John Amos Field House. In addition to five locals representing Oklahoma, eight online students representing Arizona, California, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington participated in Imperial’s ninth graduation ceremony, and the eighth graduation for online students.
Hundreds of friends and family members stood as seniors dressed in navy, gray
and white entered the decorated field house gymnasium to the sounds of Largo from Xerxes, by G.F. Handel.
Imperial Academy principal Wayne Turgeon gave the invocation and introduced the student speaker for the evening, senior Caleb Heerma. Heerma spoke about Imperial’s theme for the 2016–2017 academic year: “Lifelong Learning.” He encouraged the audience to use the sobering realities of mass illiteracy worldwide and poor educational standards domestically as motivation to learn for a lifetime, beyond formal schooling.
Heerma said that in preparing the speech he asked, “Why do we need to learn throughout the rest of our lives?” and “How is IA different?”
Graduating seniors Daniel Cocomise and Sarah Bruce performed piano pieces, followed by two dance numbers by Imperial students in the Maguire Academy of Irish Dance, presentations of academic and sporting awards, and the conferring of kindergarten diplomas to Alexis, Ian, Gabrielle and Kendall. The audience chuckled as the youngsters tried to figure out whether to walk onstage from the left or the right side, and how long to pose for pictures with their diplomas.
The crowd then watched a retrospective slideshow that included sound bites from Mr. Turgeon’s orientation address in August and humorous photos of the graduates as babies.
After Mr. Turgeon reiterated the “Lifelong Learning” theme in his address and urged the audience to follow the example of Imperial Schools founder Herbert W. Armstrong, the 2017 seniors approached the stage and received their diplomas from him and from assistant principal Brandon Nice.
“Graduation is one of the greatest moments of my life,” Cocomise said. “Going up there and seeing your family in the crowd and receiving the diploma is such a great feeling. … Now all that goes through your mind is what I need to bring to college and how to prepare for it.”
Eleven of the 13 graduates are now preparing for their freshman year at Herbert W. Armstrong College.
Imperial Academy Class of 2017
With distinction: gpa 3.3 to 3.54
With high distinction: gpa
3.55 to 3.74
With highest distinction: gpa 3.75 to 4.0
Matthew Barreiro (with high distinction)
Sarah Bruce (with distinction)
Cami Eagle (with highest distinction)
Caleb Heerma (with high distinction)
Erin Lexa (with distinction)
Audrey Locher (with highest distinction)
Sarah Woodard (with distinction)