The energy was high Friday night as 226 Churchill County High School seniors walked across the stage to accept their diploma.
CCHS science and chemistry teacher Steve Johnson, valedictorian Madellyn Christie and salutatorian Joseph Jamieson addressed graduates and guests.
Christie told the Class of 2015 their quest of a lifetime is knocking on the door, and they have the opportunity to leave their “shire” and head out into the great beyond.
“It’s our turn to go on an adventure that is talked about for centuries. It’s our chance to change the world,” Christie said.
Christie found inspiration to write her speech from different movies that were relatable to graduation and what lies ahead.
“We’re all scared. Right now, we’re on the brink. We’re on the edge of our forever,” she said.
Christie said graduates are looking out at the unexplored worrying if their mothers will be OK without them, if their mothers fears are valid and if the students are going to survive going out on their own.
“We’ve been locked away for 18 years and the window of our tower can only show us so much,” she said. “We have to leave the comfort of the known so that we may fulfill our destiny and see those glowing lanterns gleam. For all of you non-Disney people out there, those are some highlights from Tangled.”
Christie said all three of the famous adventurers — Bilbo, Odysseus and Rapunzel had a mentor — a Gandalf, an Athena or a Flynn Rider.
She said her Gandalf has been her dad, her Athena has been her mom and her Flynn Rider was split in two — her two sisters.
“Thank you to my mentors, big and small, along with all of the friends I have known along the way, because if you guys hadn’t been my support, I wouldn’t be giving this speech,” she said.
Jamieson started off with a joke for all of the graduates apologizing to everyone who he told that he would be first in his class.
“There is a story about that but I’ll just say that at that time I honestly thought I was going to be No. 1,” he said.
Jamieson told the graduating class and attendees that because he didn’t care to find out what happened to a grade that wasn’t accounted for, it he lost the chance to become valedictorian.
“The reason me and Madelyn are up here giving speeches is not because we are the smartest,” he said. “It is because we worked the hardest, and wanted it the most … If you have a goal, don’t let anyone tell you can’t reach it. Don’t let a teacher or your friends or even your father tell you that you can’t reach it.”
Johnson had encouraging words for the graduates stating that even though they are from a small town in Nevada, they can make their dreams a reality with enough hard work and determination.
“If I can leave you with one thought, it is to never give up on your dreams,” he said. “Graduates from this high school have done some pretty remarkable things. One is currently working with NASA on the Orion space capsule, which will take American astronauts to Mars or back to the moon. Another is experimenting with the next generation of computer processors, and still another worked on the Human Genome Project. One of our graduates was on the Special Forces team that captured Sadaam Hussein in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and another is in top management of a multinational corporation.”
Johnson said he prays that the graduates’ dreams will inspire them to reach for the stars. He said that each student could believe in themselves enough to follow their dreams, and to reach out and touch that star which at times, may seem far away.
“Remember that in America, we can do anything or achieve anything if we have the commitment, the desire and are willing to work hard,” he said.
Johnson said over the past couple of years, it has been his pleasure to be the students’ chemistry teacher and their friend. He said he will never forget the near death experience him and the students had together in the passing lane on the way to INL, the new life forms they created in honors biochemistry, or his delight as the graduates were accepted to their favorite college or university.
“As I leave this stage tonight, know that you will always be in my heart, and in my prayers,” he said. “Class of 2015, I wish you all the best. May the Good Lord Bless and keep you always.”
The district recognized the honor school graduates that included the following:
Madellyn Christie, Joseph Jamieson, Jonathan Grimes, Debra Beyer, Justin Olson, Tyler Wood, Josey Moore, Timothy Rosario, Emily Johnson, Linsey Golding, Katrina Ward, Alexandria Tedford, Shelby Blakey, Emma-Leigh Blundell, Brooke Donahue, Rebecca Eckert, Jeffrey Evett, Elisabeth Herzog, Skylar Jones, Jacob Kirsh, Cameron Kissick, Bailey Knight, Tiffany Marshall, Trey McGowan, Blane Merkley, Maggie O’Flaherty, Aurora Smith, Christian Stadtman, Emma Thomas, Jumel Villacarlos, Adam Wadsworth, Jordin Warner, Megan Warner and Bridger Young.