Leadership drives Dayton High graduate

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Dayton's Justin Benitez does a backflip after receiving his diploma while his basketball coach T.W. Cunningham, in front of flag, watches on Thursday.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Dayton's Justin Benitez does a backflip after receiving his diploma while his basketball coach T.W. Cunningham, in front of flag, watches on Thursday.

Dayton High grad Chelsey Farnworth found her true love in her freshman year.


She entered the high school's leadership program at the urging of her mom, Terri, and several teachers.

"They just said, 'You have to do this,' and it saved me," she said. "I fell in love with it. It opened all the doors for me, and without leadership, I would not be who I am now."

Chelsey was one of 134 students graduating from Dayton High School on Thursday, among many collecting honors.

Hundreds of family and friends watched Chelsey and her fellow graduates obtain their diplomas.

Salutatorian Katherine Peters told her classmates that education was more than school, and she learned much from those she knew for 12 years. "Never let your schooling get in the way of your education," she said. "Thanks for the memories, and party on, dudes."

Assistant superintendent for the Lyon County School District and former Dayton High principal Teri White gave the commencement address, mentioning Dr. Seuss' "Oh the places you'll go."

"Anything worth having is worth fighting for," she advised the students.

Valedictorian Jennifer Minor noted that valedictory is a farewell, and thanked her fellow students, friends and families.

"We loved, laughed and cried, each of us have grown during our time at Dayton High School," she said, adding that "great minds must think alike," because she closed with passages from the same Dr. Seuss book mentioned by White.

Before the graduation ceremony, Farnsworth credited many of her teachers with helping her through her leadership as well as the rest of her high school experience.

The petite blonde proved her point about how much the leadership program helped her, with her well-spoken, confident and assertive manner.

This year, she was elected 2008 class president, so much of the organizing of the graduation ceremony fell to her, yet she made sure to point out the student council and high school counselors played important roles.

"It's been a slow process, coordinating with the counselors," she said, referring to Denise Hoffman and Monica Halverson. "I would have lost my mind without them."

The student council assembled the graduation, including coordinating the music, speeches and procession. The council consists of vice president Ashley Priester, secretary Ashley Cruz, treasurer Chelle Carrol and representatives Sierra Finck and Jen Minor.

Chelsey and the students on the council were instrumental in choosing the 2008 class motto, quoting the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, the former U.S. Attorney General and New York senator who was assassinated 40 years ago this month: "Some see things as they are and ask why; I dream things that never were and ask why not."

At graduation practice, the students' hard work paid off, as the afternoon rehearsal Thursday went off without a hitch.

Chelsey's dad, Korey, is very active in Dayton-area youth sports, and she said he influenced her a bit, as she played volleyball and track for her first three years at DHS. She decided to stay away from sports her senior year.

"I needed some time away from that," she said. "I wanted to concentrate on school and grades, which worked."

Though she said she always got good grades, the extra effort paid off. Chelsey finished her high school education with a 4.0 grade point average, including honors courses.

She said her parents are "really excited, like parents should be."

Chelsey plans to put her leadership skills to work next at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she plans to major in business, hoping to move on to Portland State at the urging of one of her teachers, and because "it's awesome."

The native Nevadan, who moved to Dayton in 1999 from Carson City, said she wants to be an event planner.

Wherever she goes for school or work, Nevada will see her again. She never really wanted to be anywhere else but here, she said.

"I will be coming back to Northern Nevada to live for the rest of my life."

Class of 2008

Maria Acosta

Brandon Aguilera

Meschel Alonso

Jacob Avendano

Sierra Barnwell

Megan Beasley

Justin Benitez

Katie-Marie Bindert

Bryan Brandenburg

Meghann Brower

Maxwell Brown

Colleen Carroll

Teresa Cash

Jazmin Castaneda

Matthew Castro

Justin Chastanet

Kenneth Cobb

Ashley Cruz

Brittany Davis

Yvonne Dorado

Raymond Eade

Christopher Ezell

Chelsey Farnworth

Josef Favia

Trace Feemster

Sierra Finck

Nickolas Fisher

Trisha Fitzgerald

Nathan Fonseca

Jerrin Foster

Kaila Fraker

Raul Garcia

Tasha Gaskill

Amber Gillenwater

Vadim Gladwill

Joshua Goodfellow

Chelsea Gould

Shelly Hardy

Samantha Harris

Michael Hartley

Jesse Heckman

John Helgerson

Georgina Henderson

Reynaldo Hernandez

Thomas Higday

Brittany Hill

Elizabeth Hopkins

Portia Horn

Jeremiah Huckeba

Liana-Shae Hull

Nicole Iratcabal

Alexa Jackson

Amber Keating

Casey James Kelly

Marcy Kendall

Daniel Kenneston

Ronald Kennison

Robyn Langguth

Brian Lepe

Cory Lindberg

Jonathan Lonero

Kristopher Marshall

Macie Matheny

Evan McCoy

Jenna McCrosky

Ariel Meggerson

Leslie Mejia

Luis Gerardo Melgarejo

Hans Meyer

Thomas Milani

Sarah Miller

Jennifer Minor

Yessenia Montes

Nicole Morris

Cassandra Murray

Lizbeth Novoa

Natasha Olivera

Esperanza Padilla Garcia

Kellen Palmer

Donald Parker

Thomas Paterson

Konrad Perkins

Katherine Peters

Josue Pineda

Ashley Priester

Jose' Quiroga

Christopher Randone Jr.

Ryan Ransdell

Brett Remington

Ricardo Reyes

Cody Richardson

Juan Rodallegas

Ashley Rodeffer

Erick Rodriguez Jr.

Marcos Rodriguez

Carla Roman

Michael Rosario

Angelica Ruybal

Nicholas Salleng

Diana Samuel

Evan Sanborn

Rosalee Sauer

Robert Sawyer

Matthew Shepley

Karena Shobert

Christine Shotwell

Sarah Sikora

Kenise Smith

Robbie Smith

Jennifer Caitli Sober

Donald Somers

Amber Spain

Ryan Stewart

Maria Stinger

Jacqueline Talavera

Andrew Thomas

Christopher Thompson

Scott Thornton

Roslyn Timmerman

Rory Torvik

Matthew Tracy

Byron Trigueros

Emily Ulrich

Danielle Underwood

Rebecca Van Sickle

Garrett Vincent

Brett Wadkins

Ryan Walsh

Tiffany Weaver

Brandon Weiner

Jason Wheeler

Benjamen Wyatt

Brice Wyatt

Cory Yoder


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