Shawnee High School graduate and 19-year-old Ashlyn Oliver did not expect the last semester of her senior year to go as it did, but despite the hardships, she's grateful to her teachers and school for helping her make the most of things.

"I will forever wonder what basketball state would have been like, how far we would have gone in baseball, the night of prom and what seniors were voted into the yearbook for funniest, most athletic and Mr. and Mrs. SHS," Oliver said.

While Oliver is sad she didn't get to do all those things, she said she's happy for the moments she did get to have thanks to her teachers and community.

"Over the last four years I grew closer with so many teachers and staff. The list would never end if I named all the teachers and staff who pushed me to be better," Oliver said. "Through COVID-19, I’ve seen so many beautiful things. I loved seeing the town come together and cheer on the teachers at the parade. The way communities have come together is something I will always remember."

However, Oliver said the greatest difficulty for her was all the things she missed.

"The most challenging aspect has been accepting that my year is over. Seniors have to live with not traditionally saying our goodbyes to friends and teachers," Oliver said.

Despite the challenges though, the graduate said she was still able to make great memories and had many joyful moments over the last year.

"The good thing about life is that memories cannot be taken away from you," Oliver said. "Senior year brought so many great memories. I was able to help plan a new annual philanthropy event at the high school, HOWL WEEK (Helping Others With Love)."

The graduate said helping with this event was her favorite memory as the students raised over $10,000 for the SHS Special Education students who were going to compete in the 2020 Special Olympics.

Overall, Oliver said though it wasn't what she expected, she will always remember her senior year and in the fall she will be attending Oklahoma State University to major in interior design.

"After college my plan is to come back to Shawnee. I have enjoyed seeing the change in Shawnee in the past years of growing up," Oliver said.

Oliver would like to thank all of her teachers for believing in her and encouraging her to do great things.