Okemos High School prepares students for future learning

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Okemos High School (OHS), ranking among the top 10 high schools in the state of Michigan, OHS has a mission statement that encourages their staff to provide a tradition of daily excellence in order to meet the needs of each individual student.

Hedlun Walton, counselor at OHS, has been working at the school since 2002. Her role as a counselor is to help students with all kinds of concerns ranging from emotional college stresses to career planning.

“I think the thing that stands out to me about OHS is the level of parental involvement and support. Education is highly valued. Parents and students alike make it (education) a high priority, so people are willing to invest both time and money to help their students be successful.”:Walton said.

“There is a culture of achievement here that extends beyond the classroom. Our extracurricular groups all seek to operate at a high level.”

OHS provides students the opportunity to not only develop academically, but also culturally and socially. The school offers programs in art, athletics, choir, journalism and orchestra. After school programs include events such as robotics, solar car racing and debate. Though OHS has many well renowned curricula, stigmas and educational pressures continue to provide hurdles for the high school.

Christine Sermak, principal of OHS, said that she strives to overcome any trial and tribulation that may come her way and will continue to offer students and faculty with the ideal learning and working domain.

Sermak said: “Overall, I hope the school continues on the path it has established over many decades, though we do face some challenges. For a long time we have been a desirable district in which to work.”

Walton stated that changes such as wages and district zoning have had a significant impact on the number of people going into education as well as enrollment numbers.

Sermak added, “These pressures on faculty have pushed some excellent teachers into other professions or early retirement from teaching. Our school can only be as strong as the faculty who teach the classes.”

Since OHS is a public school, only students who reside within the borders of the Okemos School District, or students accepted through the school of choice application process, may attend OHS. The window of acceptance is in the late spring or early summer, and is a restricted lottery system. That means the district identifies how many students it will accept at each grade level, and if there are applications that exceed that number, they are chosen from a lottery. 

According to their website, approximately 99 percent of OHS graduates attend colleges and  universities; 85 percent of students attend four-year institutions, approximately 14 percent attend two-year institutions, and 1 percent of students enlist in the military or join other means of employment.

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