As Karim Oliver walked across the stage to accept his diploma during the 2015 Commencement ceremony, he paused to snap a selfie with his fellow graduates in the background. Someone who doesn't know Karim might see this as a prime example of today’s teenager—ignoring tradition to capture a moment for social media. But his friends and family know that this small act is the embodiment of who Karim is: a bright young man who has deeply rooted himself in the Shorecrest community, and who wants to share every last moment with his fellow Chargers.
Karim came to Shorecrest in sixth grade as an outgoing young man who made friends quickly despite being the new kid. His teachers all remember him having great leadership potential, but in those early years at Shorecrest, he could be a bit hard to reign in. One of his mentors, Dean of Students Kathy Sessions, expresses that through the years he has become a dynamic, responsible young man on whom she can depend. Dean Sessions recounted an instance when Karim not only took charge of finding a location for the Homecoming dance, but also discussed details with vendors, and even signed the contract. She quips, “He even negotiated a lower price than they originally quoted. I have never had a student do that!”
No doubt, it was his relationships with faculty members that helped him grow. Karim describes his relationship with Dean Sessions. “She was always pushing me. She got me to buy into the fact that I could be more than the class clown. And she taught me that it was my responsibility to lead and to give back.”
Karim has achieved some truly remarkable things during his time at Shorecrest. He has gone to compete at the state level in golf as both an individual and as part of the Shorecrest golf team, he has served as the Broadcast Journalism Editor, and he was recognized as a National Achievement Finalist. Karim turns his interest in government into true leadership outside of the classroom. He has been a consistent member of Student Government and offered his time, ideas, and humor to the organization. As a member of Model United Nations and Youth in Government, Karim uses these platforms to inspire his peers to get involved in the world around them.
When asked to reflect back on the highlights of his Shorecrest career, he doesn't talk about any of his personal achievements, but of the things he accomplished being part of a team. As he puts it, "There is a special jubilation when you accomplish something as a group!"
He passionately recalls working with his golf teammates to fulfill the dream of going to State as a team, a feat seven years in the making. “Seven years—the bus rides, the losses, the work we put in—seven years we had wanted this, so even though I wasn't playing my best at Regionals, I knew I had to keep fighting.” Karim and his teammates ended up winning Regionals and were the first Shorecrest golf team to make it to State.
What's more, he seems to have a natural ability to cheer on and help motivate his peers. Karim and his classmates worked together during their junior year Homecoming week to ultimately be crowned Homecoming champions over the seniors. Karim explains, “I know it sounds shallow, and in the grand scheme of thing it means nothing, but that moment when we were announced as the winner was amazing. It was awesome knowing that 85 of us together could actually accomplish something.”
This fall, Karim will leave Florida to head to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. What drew him to “Vandy”? “The sense of community,” he says. “My favorite part of Shorecrest has been this amazing community, and I was looking to find a similar feeling in a college.”
Karim hopes to dive right into life on campus, although he doesn't exactly know what that will look like yet. He explains, “I'm not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow, let alone at Vanderbilt or five to ten years down the road!”
Whatever it is, Karim is certain to pursue it with the same passion and drive that has marked his Shorecrest career. As Dean Sessions put it, “I do not think we have heard the last from Karim Oliver!”