OIA graduates 52 students in Class of 2022

·3 min read

May 23—Jace Moorman believes education is more than just teaching curriculum, and his experience at the Owensboro Innovation Academy has helped to inform him of his life's current goal: to become a teacher.

The 17-year-old Owensboro native was one of 52 students to graduate from the school on Sunday at Owensboro Christian Church.

After high school his plans are to study history and secondary education at Kentucky Wesleyan College, and said he would not be headed in this positive direction if it weren't for his teachers — called facilitators at OIA — rooting for him every step of the way.

"Teaching it a lot more about changing someone on a fundamental level, a core level," Jace said, and he has experienced a lot of that throughout his four years at OIA.

"I had a lot of teachers who changed my outlook on life, and I want to do that for someone someday," he said.

OIA is a unique school in the area because students from several school districts can attend. Along with Owensboro Public Schools and Daviess County Public Schools, there are also students from surrounding counties, like Hancock. Before enrolling at OIA, Jace was slated to attend Apollo High School. He likes Apollo, but said OIA was definitely the right choice for him.

The smaller classes, and hands-on approach to learning in a stem-based environment was perfect for his learning style, he said.

Jace will be a first-generation college student, and he is excited to embark on his life's next journey. He is also nervous, he said.

"I have known these people for four years, and I'm starting to move away from them," he said. "I have to start my own life now, and no one is going to hold me responsible for my actions anymore. It's up to me and myself to keep myself in check, which I'm sure is an arduous task."

Beth Benjamin, OIA principal, told students and attendees during the commencement ceremony that 75% of the OIA Class of 2022 graduated with some college credit. There were also a few who graduated with more than 60 college credit hours.

"What I find even more important about this group as a whole is their character," Benjamin said. "They are loyal, they are smart, they're funny, and they are trustworthy. They have been a blessing to us at OIA."

Anne Web, OIA math facilitator, told students during the ceremony that all of her 25 years of teaching have been enjoyable, but her last seven years at OIA have been the most rewarding.

She told students she wants them to have it all, and that having it all will be different for each of them. In the end, each student will "know it when you have it."

She also told them they are the author of the next chapter of their lives, and asked them what they want their lives to be?

"You get to decide and that's pretty cool, and you can even change your mind, mid-chapter," she said.

She also encouraged students to search for three people that embody all they wish to become, and to make them their new best friends.

"Make sure you include fun times, like the ones we have had," she said.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315