Each September, Principal Wes Paul gathers his seniors at for a senior field day - the place where, in just nine short months, those same students will be receiving diplomas.
Students enjoy the day and a cookout, and then take a senior class picture.
"I tell them 'you guys owe it to eachother to make sure you're all present for graduation,'" Paul said. "It kind of sets the tone for the seniors about where things are heading."
Paul said this year's senior class - the class of 2012 - is full of great students, athletes, and people with deep friendships. Although friendships are deep amongst groups, he hopes they will come together as a class sometime early this year.
"The senior class will probably come together as a whole in September or October," he said. "They are leaders of the school."
Paul said he is excited to see the new senior class lead the school into a new year. He is optimistic, despite budget cuts that eliminated 18 positions from theand affected the high school. Paul said a social studies position was lost through attrition and some of the school's paraprofessional positions were eliminated.
Students will have less help when choosing colleges this year, Paul said, as a result of the elimination of a guidence position that helped juniors and seniors with the search.
The cuts also forced the school to cut back on supplies and materials.
Paul said, despite the cuts, he believes the school is at the forefront of technology in the state, largely due to OA's renovation project two years ago.
"We really are at the cutting edge of technology here," Paul said, citing interactive white boards, five 30-computer-filled labs, research centers, projectors and web lessons.
This year, Paul said there will be revisions to certain school curriculums, including grade nine english, grade 10 english, physics and statistics.
The principal said the new additions and innovative technology are just a piece of what will make for a great year. The students and the staff define the school - beginning with the senior class.
"We've had some tremendous senior classes of the the last few years," Paul said. "I'm sure it will be no different this year."