Like many young commencement speakers, new Oak Harbor graduate Nicole Weis preached messages of perseverance to her fellow classmates.
But Weis also had experiences to relate her messages to.
If you don't believe her, she has scars to prove it. Weis fell victim to a torn ACL not once, but three different times during her high school athletic career.
Sports are a part of life for Weis who played soccer, basketball, and ran track, so she didn't let a missing ligament — one that is imperative to athletic movements — keep her on the sidelines.
"I didn't want to skip my senior year," she said.
Weis joined her soccer teammates on a legendary run that almost culminated in a state championship.
Although the Oak Harbor girls fell short in their quest for gold, Weis learned valuable lessons that she tried to convey to her 116 classmates during her commencement speech Sunday.
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts," Weis said, quoting Winston Churchill.
Sunday was a day she will never forget, she said.
"To graduate with all my classmates, it was amazing," she said. "Everyone is such good friends, and I've enjoyed every minute of school since elementary school."
Students said their classmate's story was one from which they could all learn.
"It was inspirational," student president Derek Wood said. "It was well-written. Her speech and the ceremony made you look back and be proud of what you did at Oak Harbor."
Wood plans to attend Owens Community College before transferring to a school for physical therapy, or working for the U.S. Border Patrol.
Weis is off to the University of Toledo to major in chemistry with a pre-med focus.
For Benton-Carroll-Salem Superintendent Guy Parmigian, Weis and Wood are two extraordinary students in a class of many others.
"We expect to hear a lot of success stories whether at college or in the work force," Parmigian said. "(The 2014 seniors) excelled in the classroom, on the athletic fields and in music, so across the board they are a great group of students."
High school flies by quickly. The ceremony itself flies by even more quickly, he said.
"I asked students to take a snap shot of this moment in their mind," Parmigian said. "It was a special time."