WCSD’s Educational Options for Success program honors 11th Outstanding Graduate Award recipient

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Herbert Akyampong-Okyere, a 2022 graduate from Westerville Central High School, has been named the Educational Options for Success (EOS) program’s 11th Outstanding Graduate.

Akyampong-Okyere completed three years worth of work in two, earning 14 credits through EOS since starting in March 2020. He was among the first group of students to receive high school elective credit through his work experiences as part of a pilot program last school year.

“It feels very good to be recognized,” he said. “My time here was very good — I would say perfect. I really connected with the teachers here. I’m really in awe.” 

During his time in the program housed at the Academic Enrichment Center (AEC), school leaders said Akyampong-Okyere was a leader among students with his work ethic, maturity, respectful manner and positive attitude. He entered and left EOS with an academic focus to achieve the personal goals he set for himself.

“Akyampong-Okyere is the definition of someone who came and preserved and showed that integrity,” counselor and EOS program coordinator Adam Rex said. “It’s not easy to get 14 credits. It’s definitely not easy to do it in two year’s worth of time.”

But Akyampong-Okyere came to the Academic Enrichment Center, remained consistent and worked the right way by using study guides, asking teachers when he needed help and not taking any short cuts, he said.

“That’s why you’re there,” Rex said to Akyampong-Okyere. “I’m super proud of you and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy.”

Teachers, students and staff at the AEC recognized Akyampong-Okyere during a ceremony Friday. District leaders such as Scott Reeves, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, and Anne Baldwin, Executive Director of Secondary Academic Affairs, were on hand during the festivities as well as Eric Nickel, an Assistant Principal at WCHS, and Monica Johnson, a WCHS Counselor. 

Akyampong-Okyere’s family also attended, including his mother, Gloria Arhin, and his two sisters, Bridget and Rachael.

“I was so surprised when we got the call,” Arhin said. “We are honored.”

Akyampong-Okyere is interested in the IT field and plans to attend Columbus State Community College. 

“You have a bright future,” Nick McIlwain, Director of Assessment and Alternative Education, said during Friday’s event. “And who knows where your journey is going to take you. But know that you always have a home here. And we hope that you come back and visit us and that you let us know how things are going in your journey and where your journey is taking you.” 

The Outstanding Graduate award is selected by the teachers and staff at the AEC each school year. Attributes considered for this award are perseverance, scholarship, leadership, service, character, responsibility, respect, attitude, loyalty, and integrity.

For 20 years, EOS has continued to provide a quality educational alternative for students. The award-winning program serves a wide variety of students and has leveled the playing field to enable the district to actually gain a competitive advantage over its charter school counterparts. EOS has not only helped hundreds of at-risk pupils to complete their high school education, but it has recouped state funding which is lost when students drop out or leave the district to pursue other educational avenues. Approximately 90 students graduate from EOS each year, representing approximately 8% of the district’s annual graduate rate.