ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – The countdown to graduation has begun for the high school seniors who attend UTPB Stem Academy.
Graduation is always a special moment, but this year is extremely special for UTPB Stem Academy because they are graduating their first ever senior class.
Shannon Davidson, Superintendent of UTPB Stem Academy is the most happiest for the moment to arrive.
“We have spent the last seven years with them watching them grow up and we are super excited for them,” says Davidson.
Covid-19 has been the reason for many events either being put on hold or cancelled but not this one.
“We are just super excited that we are able to meet and gather together at the Wagner and that we are actually able to do that this year because we need this first one to be amazing,” says Davidson.
When these soon to be graduates entered the doors of UTPB Stem Academy in 2014 as sixth graders, they started creating traditions and influencing the younger students.
“I think this senior class has really set the bar high and they also lead by example and so all the grades below them they know this is how we do things as stem,” says Davidson.
Both middle and high school principal Cody Griffin realizes that this school year has been extremely stressful for these seniors and one thing that has become a tradition because of that is perseverance.
“The last three years have been progressively getting more and more difficult with dual credit classes and then you mix in something like covid where you don’t have that in person learning you just add that as an additional layer its a lot to ask of these kids,” says Griffin.
In April, UTPB host a college signing day where friends, family, high school and college administrators watch as these committed to the next chapter of their life after high school.
“All most all of them are going off to a college, a university, we have one going off into the military,” says Davidson. The majority of them have chosen fields in the stem field which we know that is an influence from being here.
As UTPB Stem Academy administrators and family members share tears of joy while senior like Jocelyn Belk share excitement.
“It’s awesome experience here and to be the first graduating class is absolutely spectacular says, Belk”
If there is one last piece of guidance Jamie Miller, UTPB Stem Academy guidance counselor had to give to her seniors it would be the importance of passion.
“You can lead your life with passion and a desire to just learn more and my request and wish for them is that they always hold on to that,” says Miller. That’s what I can ask of anyone just to hold onto that passion and spread it and change the world.