Mikaela Jackson, 17, wore a beaded necklace with her graduation gown Saturday in honor of her Paiute and Miwok heritage.
“I wanted to represent my tribes and Native Americans,” she said. “It’s a big deal for me. Some of my family didn’t get to graduate themselves.”
However, some of the 2014 Carson High School graduates didn’t take the ceremony so seriously.
Valedictorian Tony Xie, said the first draft of his speech was rejected by the administration.
“They didn’t appreciate my humor,” he explained to his fellow graduates and guests. “But I’m going to read that speech anyway.”
In the forbidden speech, Xie pointed out great minds like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Ben Franklin never earned a high school diploma and that most Americans today do.
“You now have a substantial advantage over 10 percent of the population,” he said. “Now you may think I’m a pretentious, sarcastic schmuck. You’re only mostly right.”
He said his intention was not to make light of the accomplishment, but to add some levity.
“You don’t have to take life too seriously,” he said. “This is something I wish I’d known when I first came to Carson High School.”
Salutatorians Greta Strum and Zoey Gray, both 18, had some fun with their speech as well, taking turns reading the address they wrote in limerick.
“Now we’re seniors — Carson High royal, celebrated for all of our toil,” they recited.
Senior class president Keegan Allen wished her fellow graduates well on their journey.
“I hope the past four years have given you a foundation to create something magnificent for yourselves,” she said.
That is exactly what Kaeli Biggin, 18, plans to do.
“I’m really excited to be about to go forward with my life and become a bigger and better person,” she said.
Ricky McLeod, 18, just needs some time to let it all sink in.
“It’s anxious,” he said. “I’ve been waiting all high school for this. Now that it’s here, it’s overwhelming. I don’t know what to think.”