4 graduating seniors give high school underclassmen key advice

Local seniors tell younger students: be true to yourself, have courage and enjoy the experience.

Credit: Marshall Gorby and Jim Noelker

Credit: Marshall Gorby and Jim Noelker

The four students featured in the Dayton Daily News’ high school graduation coverage this month reflected on their four years of high school and have some advice for the younger students just starting.

Jonathan Quallen-Cooper, who graduated this month from Stivers High School and was in the band magnet at the performing arts school, said he regrets not taking his freshman year of high school more seriously in an academic sense. He said he “messed up” his grade-point average freshman year and while he has done a lot to improve it, his GPA is still not where it could be.

“I could have done so much better if I focused my freshman year,” Quallen-Cooper said.

He said he thought he could make it up later, but that was much more difficult than he thought it would be.

Hiba Loukssi, a senior who graduated from Xenia High School, said she wants freshmen to know they can get involved in their community.

“There’s so many moments that you could share your own opinion or share your own voice,” Loukssi said. “Do not be afraid of your own power. Do not be afraid to reconnect back to the people you don’t normally talk to. Don’t be afraid to live in your own truth.”

She said she also learned her senior year to accept that some things aren’t meant for her, and that you have to move on.

Ja Kayla Harris, a senior from Northmont High School, said her former studio director, who recently died, gave her great advice.

“She basically told me to always have courage and be fearless in anything and everything that I do,” Harris said.

Harris said that advice motivates her to try new things and different paths.

Maria Camacho, a recent Carroll High School graduate, said students coming in should find ways to have fun.

“I would always tell them to enjoy the experience, not stress too much about the future,” Camacho said. “And also, just be true to themselves.”

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