Oklahoma Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school serving students statewide in grades K-12, graduated 127 seniors at a commencement ceremony May 18 in Claremore.

The online virtual public school is based in Bartlesville.

Hundreds of family members, friends, teachers and administrators gathered to celebrate the graduates, and Valedictorian Nikhita Panjnani and Salutatorian Madeline Simms delivered inspirational remarks.

The class of 2019 spans the state, with two graduates, Monteil Mikayla and Fidler Taylere, residing in Bartlesville.

The 60% of graduates who plan to attend two- or four-year colleges or universities are headed to schools including Oklahoma City University and Connors State College.

Salutatorian Madeline Simms came to Oklahoma Connections Academy six years ago seeking a flexible schedule to balance her acting career. She has appeared in several local, regional and national advertisements. After graduating, Madeline will study at Oklahoma City University to become an anesthesiologist.

“Graduation symbolizes a milestone in my academic journey, and Oklahoma Connections Academy guided me every step of the way,” Madeline Simms, salutatorian and graduating senior, said.

And Valedictorian, Nikhita Panjnani, who is graduating a year early, plans to take a gap year following high school before enrolling in a higher education institute. Nikhita follows in the footsteps of her sister, Sonia, who also graduated top of her class in 2017.

“We’re very happy for all our graduates and look forward to their future success,” said Tammy Shepherd, head of school at Oklahoma Connections Academy.

Oklahoma Connections Academy currently serves approximately 1,100 students in grades K-12 across Oklahoma. The school’s students work with certified teachers who are specially trained to engage students in online learning using the school’s award-winning, proven curriculum.

Oklahoma Connections Academy juniors and seniors benefit from the school’s flexibility, which allows them time to research colleges, take on a part-time job or pursue extracurricular activities. Students also take advantage of Oklahoma Connections Academy’s diverse course catalogue, including Career Technical Education (CTE) elective offerings ranging from Business Communication to Marine Science.

For more information about Oklahoma Connections Academy, please visit www.OklahomaConnectionsAcademy.com.