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Valedictorians say CCHS students have endured the challenges of the pandemic and online learning

Seniors throw their caps or mortarboards in the air at the end of graduation.

Speakers at Churchill County High School’s graduation on Friday night told seniors to look forward to the next chapter of their lives after the class of 2022 persevered through one of the darkest times in the world. history of the United States.

More than 250 seniors who gathered at the CCHS football field resisted the coronavirus pandemic and survived online learning from March 2020.

“Looking back on the past few years, I realized that we had faced some very difficult challenges during our time in high school,” said Samuel Seong-Young Lee, valedictorian of Jump Start. “The pandemic, learning online, being away from friends, family and other loved ones and missing out on some of our high school experience. Throughout it all, we have managed to make the most of the situation in a very difficult time for many of us.

Lee reached the top of the Jump Start program which allows high school juniors and seniors to attend Western Nevada College where they earn an associate degree.

“Having this in-person graduation ceremony is awesome,” Lee said.

As students gathered in the auxiliary gymnasium ahead of the procession to the soccer field, Lee said it was amazing how many older people are in the class.

“It’s good to have this complicity,” he said.

Lee’s family moved to Fallon in 2019 after his mother accepted a position at the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe Health Clinic. He said Fallon provided a nice change of scenery from their old home in North Carolina.

Lee said he plans to go on a two-year mission to Sydney, Australia, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and once he completes it, he plans to move on. enroll at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

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Family members and friends holding balloons awaited their graduates.

Speaking to his fellow graduates, he said the seniors managed to complete their studies despite what seemed like a difficult, tedious and uncomfortable time.

“Life will continually challenge and beat you again and again,” Lee said, adding that graduates will continue to grow.

Kyla Trotter finished as an honors school valedictorian. She took eight advanced level courses during her four years at CCHS. She plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, where her older sister completed her sophomore year.

“For my classmates, I think we may have had one of the most turbulent high school experiences in history,” Trotter said, referring to COVID-19 and online learning. “Our world has been rocked by uncertainty and diversity, but we’ve learned to adapt, which I think will greatly benefit us all as we leave this campus and explore ‘the real world’.”

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The Minor Details Choir sings the national anthem.

During the restrictions on education during the pandemic, Trotter said she pushed herself as much as she could and became involved with other businesses outside of school that addressed her interests. . She plans to major in computer science and engineering.

For part of his graduation speech, Trotter talked about robots.

“During my career in computing and technology, I have found interest in a field that is subject to new discoveries and innovations almost every day: the field of artificial intelligence and robotics,” she said. “Regardless of your feelings towards AI and its depiction in sci-fi movies, this futuristic world may not be that far in the future.”

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Courtney LeBlanc, left, and Ridgely Elmer sports sunglasses.

Trotter also talked about creativity and how it will affect his classmates.

“You may have found school to foster or stifle your creativity, but as we enter the next chapter of our lives characterized by different expectations, I would advise us to keep this in mind,” he said. she declared. “We should not waste this trait we received. Creativity is the engine of innovation and problem solving, and I think we can all think of at least a few problems in our world that we would like to solve. »

Trotter said her classmates might find school fostered or stifled their creativity, but she had a thought for the elderly. They should not waste the trait of creativity with which they have been gifted.

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The Churchill County Junior ROTC Color Guard prepares to present the United States for the National Anthem. Left to right are Humphrey Arata, Boston Rogers, Hannah Benjamin and Alec Lecker.

“Creativity is the engine of innovation and problem solving, and I think we can all think of at least a few problems in our world that we would like to solve,” she added.

Before the valedictorians took the stage, principal Tom Spencer offered some advice using a bit of humor. He first thanked the students and the community for welcoming his family to Fallon after he was hired over the summer. He noted the respect his family received.
Spencer said a fortune cookie message inspired him with his wishes and he wanted to share the experience by giving each student a cookie. His messages included “Don’t wear tennis shoes to an interview”, “The fortune you seek is in another fortune cookie”, and “I’m worth a fortune”.

“I’m so proud of you,” he said. “Please remember how you got here, how you felt tonight.”
Spencer said graduates will find a special message to guide them and lead them to success. If they need advice, he said they should call someone they know.

“They have the answer you’re looking for,” he said.

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Nathan Lords walks with Darian Borough, right, during the procession.

Art teacher Jaime Shafer taught for 20 years, five of them at CCHS. She inspired the community before COVID-19 with her “Why You Matter” program. She told the graduates that they are preparing for a big change in their lives.

Then she dropped a line of wisdom about studying TV character Ted Lasso:
“Hey, taking on a challenge is a bit like riding a horse. If you’re comfortable doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Shafer recounted the similarity that affected him. When she moved to Fallon, she said the farming and green fields reminded her of the community she lived in as a child.
She also had advice. Shafer said she spent the first 30 years of her life trying to make people happy, but didn’t share the same feelings. She made changes in her life, attended graduate school, earned a master’s degree, and eventually returned to teaching, which she loved.

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CCHS seniors listen to Jaime Shafter, an CCHS art teacher who gave the keynote address.

“I liked coming to work,” she says.

Also during the ceremony, the elders paid their respects to Kendrik Julianne Wright, a classmate and friend in elementary school. Her parents received an honorary diploma for their daughter. Kendrik, 8, died in 2012 of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare pediatric cancer.

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Seniors start moving their tassels to the left side at the end of graduation.

Junior ROTC cadets presented the colors and minor details sang the national anthem.