Graduation Motivation

Last year's Graduation Motivation event looked a little different. The annual event which motivates high school seniors from across the Klamath Basin to participate in college after graduation, was held virtually a year ago.

 This year brought back the in-person element to the positive event and featured over 600 high school seniors for Graduation Motivation at the Ross Ragland Theater this past Tuesday. It was the first time since the fall of 2019 in which high school seniors could see the event up close and personal.

 The event was coordinated by Herald and News and Klamath Promise, and featured representatives from Klamath Promise sponsors, Oregon Air National Guard, Klamath Community College and Oregon Tech. Klamath Promise and Southern Oregon Educational Service District Program Manager Jessie DuBose helped put on the event.

Klamath Union High School students undoubtably had the shortest commute to the Ross Ragland Theater and walked together to the event where they were greeted by KCC mascot, Badger.

KCC Student First Year Experience Coordinator Oscar Herrera opened the event and detailed highlights of what it would be like if students were to attend Klamath Community College next year. Herrera and his team at KCC awoke the crowd of quiet students and used a slingshot to throw several t-shirts into the audience.

He later highlighted a new program called Badger to Owl Connection, which is as program made to help more students earn a bachelor’s degree. Students who meet the required Bachelor to Owl Connection criteria will earn a first term tuition remission waiver at Oregon Tech, up to 15 credits of tuition value and a last term (prior to graduating) tuition remission waiver at Oregon Tech, up to 15 credits of value.

Oregon Tech Admissions Director Josephine Ness followed and helped give students a better understanding about the history of Oregon Tech and brought an Oregon Tech senior who expressed zero regret about his decision to come to Klamath Falls.

Oregon Air National Guard Sgt. Marc Hawthorne, a Klamath Falls native, then spoke and helped students understand how much they might be spending next year at an Oregon university. He let students know Oregon Air National Guard is a part-time responsibility, and can help students pay for their schooling at the same time.

The only virtual experience this year was the event’s motivational speaker, Duncan Kirkwood, who had his flight to Klamath Falls delayed and was unable to attend.

 Kirkwood still gave his message virtually and highlighted the many obstacles he surpassed to being a motivational speaker and trainer to help countless superintendents and principals across the country.

“I want you guys all to close your eyes and picture yourselves at graduation. We are months ahead but I want you to picture yourself dressed up really nice, hearing your name and walking and grabbing your diploma,” Kirkwood said. “I want you to remember that feeling and who you made proud and the steps you took to get here. Now, you are already there. You were already there. Is it not about if or having any doubt. You already graduated.”