Gesture Of Kindness Allows Two Oologah Boys To Participate In Graduation

Saturday, May 16th 2015, 4:50 pm
By: Richard Clark

Two Oologah High School seniors got to walk the stage and receive their high school diplomas, thanks to the kindness and quick thinking of two members of the faculty.

The ceremony was originally scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at the football stadium. The administration decided to move it up to 12:30 because of the threat of severe weather. 

Unfortunately, that caused a conflict for senior tennis players Tyler Rodgers and Ricky Vue. They were competing in the state tennis tournament in Oklahoma City and qualified for the second round, which began Saturday morning.

Because of the time change of the ceremony, the two seniors hadn't planned on participating in their own graduation. When they were eliminated from the tournament on Saturday morning, they made a last-minute decision to drive home and just watch the event.

They arrived at the football stadium as spectators just about the time principal Melissa Overcash read Rodgers' name. When the crowd pointed the boys out on the front row, wearing street clothes instead of caps and gowns, two members of the faculty took action.

Senior English teacher Kellie Capps and senior counselor Taylar Odle left their seats in the faculty section and offered the boys their black graduation gowns. 

It took a lot of convincing from Capps, Odle, Overcash and even the crowd to persuade Rodgers and Vue to don the gowns and cross the stage, but they finally did. 

Overcash used the microphone to urge the boys to get their diplomas, even in their street clothes, but the two seniors seemed too embarrassed to accept the offer. 

"They WERE going to walk," said Capps, when asked what she was thinking when she saw the boys refusing to walk across the stage.

"They're both great students who've worked hard," she said.

She and Odle finally convinced the boys to put on their black, faculty graduation gowns and get their diplomas. 

After the ceremony the boys and their families thanked Capps and Odle for their gesture.