The Churchill County School District graduated 20 students Thursday night from its Adult Education Program.
Only seven students, though, walked into the auditorium with smiles beaming across their faces as family members and friends cheered them on. They walked with pride across the stage to their seats waiting patiently for the phrase for which they’ve worked so hard, “I’d like to introduce the class of 2015.”
Arlene Detomasi, director of the Adult Diploma Program, welcomed the guests of honor and their families.
“These students before you have demonstrated a key core belief, despite insurmountable obstacles and challenges that life’s dealt them, they have tenacity,” Detomasi said. “They completed a goal, rising to the challenge, the students have directed and focused their attention on attaining a high school diploma and tonight we want to give them the recognition they so richly deserve.”
Sherry Black, director of Western Nevada College Fallon, greeted the graduates and attendees with a warm welcome. She said graduation ceremonies are a time for celebration and to giving thanks.
“I very much hope that tonight’s graduation class will consider this achievement as the first step in achieving greater accomplishments in the future, i.e., coming to WNC,” she said. “Your success is their (family and teachers) success also.”
Rachel Dahl, director of Churchill Economic Development Authority, said it was a pleasure and honor to give the commencement speech. She said there were three things that she considered when preparing her speech: Make sure it’s not boring, not too long and tit has a message for the students.
“I ran across a statement from Arnold Schwarzenegger, a YouTube video, Arnold Schwarzenegger on success,” she said. “He goes into a great, moving, powerful speech about success and what that means to him … and he gives six specific things.”
The six points are trust yourself, break the rules (not the law), be willing to fail, don’t listen to nay sayers, work your butt off and give back.
“I think that (trust yourself) applies to the graduates tonight,” she said. “You have learned that you can make good decisions, you’ve stuck with this and you’ve accomplished graduation and now you can believe in yourself and trust yourself.”
Dahl said the motto “Be willing to fail” has served her well in life. She said don’t be afraid to try something because it might go wrong. She said think of the amazing things that could happen from trying something new.
“I almost cry every time I hear him (Schwarzenegger) explain what he means when he says ‘don’t listen to nay sayers,’” she said. “He says when I hear someone say, ‘no one’s ever done that before, I think I’m going to do that because I’ll be the first person who’s ever done that.’ So don’t listen to people who say you can’t do it.”
Dahl said everything worthwhile comes when you work hard.
She left the students with a few thoughts — have patients with others and yourself, have endurance and always persevere, and finally always keep learning.
“As long as you understand that there is something to learn, then you will be successful,” she said.
Michael Wegner was thrilled to have graduated.
“I’m relieved to have just graduated,” Wegner said. “I found public school difficult with this program; I loved the fact I could complete it at my own pace. I’m planning on attending Sierra Nevada Job Core to hopefully, get into the medical administration or business program.”
Grad Melissa Miles said she was ecstatic to receive her diploma.
“I feel very relieved,” Miles said. “It was amazing to graduate today, it’s taken me two years to get my diploma so it was due. I’m hoping to go to college for early learning development to become a teacher.”
Graduate Bianca Castillo said she knows what her future holds.
“I’m happy to graduate,” she said. “This program was hands on and really strived to help me learn and learn at a faster pace.”
Castillo said she plans to attend Truckee Meadow Community College and join the phlebotomy program.
The graduates include the following: Bianca Castillo, LaDonna Gaines, Joshua Guthrie, David Jackson, Rebecca King, Neil Laranang, Daniel Marsh, Margarita Martinez-Ramirez, Anthony Mayes, Jared McCasland, Melissa Miles, Walker Peterson, Gage Plummer, Ashley Pyer, Kristy Rios, Alan Soles, Mayra Ventura, William Walker, Raeanne Webb, Michael Wegner, Ryan Wiersma and Orion Wolf.