Community Awards: Student of the Year | NevadaAppeal.com

Community Awards: Student of the Year

Heily Rodriguez, 17, a Carson City resident for nine years, works full-time at the Holiday Inn as a housekeeper during the summer, and part-time during the school year.

“She is a very diligent young woman that comes to class with an attitude that I wish most high school students would adopt,” said Francine Emond, Rodriguez’s English teacher at Carson High. “She has made my year here a very pleasant one, for not only is she conscientious, but also has a very kind nature.”

In 2007, Rodriguez won the Student Achievement award at the high school.

“This is very exciting. I am so happy; nothing like this has ever happened to me before,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez enjoys dancing, hanging out with her friends and talking on the phone.

“My biggest accomplishment would be passing my proficiency exams and finishing school. I’m going to be a senior next year, I’m really excited.” Rodriguez said.

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Rodriguez plans on majoring in massage therapy once she graduates. Her favorite subject is English, and her favorite teacher is Emond.

She lives with her mother Victoria, 45, her father Tito, 45, and her two older brothers, Alex, 26, and Gerardo, 21.

Jeremy McCulley

A resident of Carson City, Jeremy McCulley, 22, graduated from Carson High School on June 9.

“I could have graduated with my class in 2003, but I fell in with the wrong crowd,” he said. “I have brothers and sisters, I wanted to set a good example for them. I realized that if I wanted to get anywhere in life, I had to start with this.”

McCulley has been employed full-time with Calculated Industries for three years, and in 2006 was named employee of the year.

“I nominated him because he has demonstrated a tenacity and desire for education that is needed to advance in our world, today,” said Stephen Theriault.

For one year, McCulley worked full-time by day and attended adult education by night. He attempted his math proficiency exam four times before finally passing it. Each time he showed improvement.

“I’ve seen him working for the past year and he never gave up. I was very pleased to see him get through it. The look of satisfaction on his face was great,” Theriault said.

“It felt great to graduate. This is chapter one for me,” McCulley said.

McCulley is a model to two brothers, Jory, 17, Ben, 14 and one sister, Janae, 11.

Lisa Yamamoto

It may seem strange to ask a 14-year-old for advice, but for Lisa Yamamoto, being asked that question seems to come with her personality.

In 2007, Yamamoto, 14, a Carson City native, was the recipient of the annual Jimmy Blakemore Memorial Award, given to one female and one male student who show exceptional team work, athleticism and academics.

She has also been nominated as Student of the Year in the Nevada Appeal’s Community Awards.

Yamamoto has always been a straight-A student and excels in basketball, swimming and track and field. She plays city and competitive softball and possesses a near perfect attendance record since she entered grade school.

As a former teacher, Yamamoto’s mother, Nancy, values education and has instilled the importance of doing well in her children.

“Lisa’s father is also a doctor, so education has been something that has always been a very important aspect in our children’s lives,” Nancy Yamamoto said.

“We’re very proud of Lisa. She is very special, and must be doing something right.”

Yamamoto, who will be attending Carson High School in the fall, says she’s surprised she was nominated as student of the year.

“I like to have fun mostly, play sports, talk on the phone, go to the movies with my friends,” she said. “I want to be a marine biologist when I grow up.”

“She’s a great kid,” said Mom. “She excels in almost everything she does, people ask her for advice.”

Yamamoto’s favorite subject is math. Her mother, Nancy, 51, father Richard, 49, and brother David, 12, are very proud of her.

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