High School is about so many things - the classes you take, clubs, sports, prom - but no matter who you are or what your ambitions are, you get out of high school what you put in.
“I met some really good teachers, like, I’ve considered them friends,” Hale High School senior Axel Grajeda said.
Axel wasn’t scoring touchdowns or buzzer beaters, instead, he was charting his own path at Nathan Hale High School.
“I guess I am just really grateful for everything that has happened in my life to lead me this way. Like, my mom has given a lot to get me here, so I really appreciate her,” he said.
While in high school, Axel took 10 AP classes and was the only one to pass the history exam, earning him college credit while still in high school.
“He’s definitely a good student that always has a good, positive attitude,” teacher John Harris said.
Axel humbly credits his teacher for the inspiration.
“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be in AP history last year, and I passed that test, I was like the only one in the class, I’m still not sure how that happened,” he said.
Axel was also accepted into National Honor Society and managed to have nearly perfect attendance - he said he could count the number of days he missed on his hands.
“I’d say probably two hands because I was sick all year last year, well, not all year, but I was sick one week because of the flu,” he said.
When the time came for classes to pick homecoming candidates, "None of the boys in my class wanted to do it, so I was like, 'Sure, whatever, I won't get elected anyway,'" he said.
But when the court was announced Axel was on it, and he was shocked.
“I was like, ‘Well, I got to tell my mom to get a tuxedo now,’” he said.
He cherished every moment of the experience.
“It was pretty great! I got to hang out with a lot of people who are pretty cool and chill,” he said.
Throughout high school, Axel got more and more interested in theatre.
“I’m in drama tech, so we build a lot of the stuff here. It’s just been a lot of fun,” he said.
He even helped craft the ideas for the sets. He said those classes helped him connect with his school, and made him want to go to school.
“It makes you feel more included into it, rather than just like, ‘Oh, I just have to build this and it will be done,’” he said.
Hale High is known for having the best culinary courses in Tulsa, so Axel decided to check them out.
“I’m not good with handling knives, so that was always a little bit of a traumatizing experience, like, ‘Don’t slip up!’” he said.
But he overcame his worries and his, shall we say, lack of culinary experience.
“Before that, the best meal I could cook up was a bowl of cereal,” Axel said.
He blossomed into a chef that can cook healthy meals, while even helping the community.
“The goulash that we made for the homeless center. It was amazing because the entire classroom, all the classrooms were working on it and it was amazing because we all put our effort into it,” he said.
Maybe more important than anything, Axel grew his self-confidence. From being known for making students and teachers laugh and smile to a reliable student, showing up for class and making the most out of each opportunity.
“Somethings are frustrating, but it will be over in a week, so don’t get too overworked with one thing and just keep going. Don’t let one thing hold you back,” Axel said.
Axel plans to join the Navy - serving his country and making the most of every moment, thanks to a great experience at Nathan Hale High School.
“I just want to try and I just want to do my best,” he said.