EPIC Charter Schools is having its largest ever graduation in Oklahoma. The 1,000 or so high school seniors who wore a cap and gown last Saturday for the Oklahoma City graduation included at least three students with Luther ties. Another graduation will be held in Tulsa this weekend for hundreds more.
Tori Teel, Kaylee Denman and Cobie Hufnagel earned their high school diplomas from EPIC Charter School. The trio already is on to their next plans to further their education and begin their careers.
The online high school setup was perfect for Cobie, the daughter of Leslie and Donald Hufnagel, to finish her senior year with honors.
“EPIC was perfect for us. Cobie was a ranch raised little country girl that has a passion for horses and cattle that is a driving force in her life. She was born with a God given talent for handling animals,” said Leslie Hufnagel.
Mrs. Hufnagel explains that the flexible schedule allowed Cobie to pursue her passions, and even take a course that would not have been available to her otherwise.
Her extracurricular activity was rodeo, and caring for her horses and cattle and team roping practice consumed most of her evenings and weekends. She never had much interest in or time for school team sports or fashion or any of the things that most high school girls are interested in, therefore, being at school didn’t much interest here.
She is extremely hard working and is extremely talented at what she does and was able to secure a pretty good job at the Oklahoma National Stockyards the summer before her senior year. She didn’t want to give up her job to go back to schools so we turned to EPIC.
With EPIC she was able to take a vet science course which was both helpful and interesting to her and she only had to take the hours she needed to graduate instead of taking a full seven hours every day. She always did well in school and graduated with honors, but her interests and passions simply led her away from the brick and mortar school building.
With the money she has made at the sale barn, she has been able to acquire a small herd of cows of her own and she plans to continue a career in livestock marketing and continue to increase the size of her cowherd and make a living doing what she loves,” said Mrs. Hufnagel.
Kaylee Denman, daughter of Ami and Ben Denman, plans to enroll in college this fall following her EPIC graduation Saturday. During her senior year, she held down a job at Josephine’s Cafe and completed her studies online.
“I think EPIC is an excellent alternative to the traditional high school experience. It allows students to excel at their own pace while not missing out on job opportunities, sports or other extracurricular activities because EPIC has the whole package including prom. The teachers are excellent and work with you and the student so they do nothing but excel,” said Mrs. Denman.
Denman also said EPIC students need to be self-starters who work well independently and can stay on task, which she adds is great training for college preparation and work ethic. “Only down side is graduating with people you don’t know takes a little away from the experience,” she said. The ceremony took several hours but drew a large crowd to the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
Tori Teel, the daughter of Toby Teel and the late Cindy Teel, spent many years at Luther Public Schools but finished her high school education with Honors at EPIC. She is the granddaughter of Carolyn Lawson and the late Jerry Lawson. Tori might eventually follow in her grandmother’s career path and study cosmetology. Mrs. Lawson was a long-time hair dresser operating salons in Luther, Edmond and at Will Rogers World Airport.
Teel currently works for Noble Equine as a veterinary tech. She said she liked the pace at EPIC, and battled through many doubts about graduating. She thanks her teacher, Tami McDaniels, for the guidance in helping her complete her high school education.
“Believe in your own success and surround yourself with people who invest in you just as much as you invest in them,” said Teel.