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High School Reflections - Class of 2021

KPS Class of 2021

Graduation ceremonies for Kalamazoo Public Schools' (KPS) seniors are next week. As is customary here at KzooConnect, we asked two outgoing KPS seniors to reflect on their experiences and share their plans for the future.

For both our seniors, the past four years have been filled with personal growth and maturation.

Loy Norrix High School (Loy Norrix) senior Ava Loc and Kalamazoo Central High School senior August O’Neil both reflected on their personal growth over the last four years.

“During my freshman year, I had a lot of social anxiety,” Loc shared. “Since then, I have become a lot more extroverted and really enjoy talking to people and learning about others.”

Ava Loc

August O’Neil experienced a similar journey.

“As a freshman, I was trying to get involved in as many activities as possible and I really spread myself thin,” he admitted. “My advice for incoming freshman would be to grab a few of your core interests and meet those people that you thrive and bond with.”

While in high school, both students took part in a variety of extracurricular activities and programs. Loc participated in PeaceJam, Key Club, Interact Club, Executive Board, and the National Honor Society.

Also a member of the National Honor society, O’Neil took part in baseball and tennis, was involved with Jeter’s Leaders, volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club and the Special Olympics, and served as Co-Class President.

To say that these two were busy during the past four years would be an understatement. Now they turn their focus toward taking the first step into post-secondary education. For O’Neil this means attending the University of Michigan in the fall. Although currently undecided on a major, he appreciates the support that The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise) has given him.

“I was homeschooled until sixth grade, so I get 80% of the tuition benefits provided by The Promise,” he said. “I know people from other districts that have to make their college decision based on financials. The Promise removed that stress and opened so many more paths for me.”

August O'Neil

Also thankful for the support, Loc plans to use The Promise to study Zoology at Michigan State University.

“I enjoyed my biology and ecology classes at Loy Norrix,” she explained. “This year, I took veterinary science EFE (Education for Employment) classes and that really helped me decide that this was the path I wanted to pursue.”

In less than a week’s time, both Loc and O’Neil will make their walk across the stage that signifies the end of their high school experience. But before they go, they have some pearls of wisdom to share for KPS’ class of 2022.

“My biggest piece of advice would be to do things for yourself,” Loc shared. “Try to have fun and enjoy where your life is now.”

O’Neil added, “Anything can happen, so really cherish your time. When applying to colleges, don’t set yourself up for one destination. There are so many opportunities, so you should not stress about one little end point.”

On behalf of the entire staff here at KzooConnect, we would like to extend our congratulations to Ava Loc, August O’Neil, and all 2021 KPS graduates. We are excited to see what you all do next!

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