Salutatorian Nicole Vargas talked about the saying “you only live once” in her address during Silver State High School’s commencement Thursday night at the Carson City Community Center. But she stressed it’s what one does with that life that counts.
Vargas and Valedictorian Jessica Perkins talked about how Silver State gave them that foundation for their lives during their addresses. Vargas, who plans to study culinary arts, talked about some of the areas in which her fellow graduates planned on entering, including nursing, art and acting.
Both Vargas and Perkins attended Silver State Charter Schools since the seventh grade. “I found a place where I could be myself,” Vargas said. “At Silver State, I found a home.”
Perkins, who earned straight As and graduate early, is already enrolled at Western Nevada College and plans to become a neonatal nurse. She thanked the adults in her life, including her father.
“I would not be standing here today at this podium if not for you,” she said. “I would not be the person I am today without your support.”
The graduates earned $82,500 in scholarships — $80,000 in Millennium scholarships and $2,500 in scholarships from Silver State faculty, staff and board.
To earn a $10,000 Millennium scholarship, students needed to maintain a grade point average of at least 3.25. Graduates who earned the Millennium scholarship were Molly Boline, Katherine Hickman, Crystal Judd, Savannah Kelley, Perkins, Christopher Presley, Jordan Sullivan and Vargas.
From Silver State, Stephanie Parks and Abigail Cloninger earned a $250 scholarship and Judd and Perkins each earned a $1,000 scholarship.
Graduates receiving the Silver Eagle Award for maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA were Vargas, Boline, Cloninger, Brandon Fox, Hickman, Kelley, Judd, Perkins, Christopher Presley, Michael Smith and Jordan Sullivan.
The graduates also broke from tradition during Thursday’s ceremony. Normally the male graduates would wear blue robes and the female graduates would wear white robes. But in support of the school’s transgender population, all of the about 50 graduates wore white robes. “We do (have a significant transgender population),” Marci Stewart, guidance counselor at Silver State, said. “Silver State Charter School is a school where students can freely express themselves in any way with less fear of bullying. While they still may encounter resistance to their lifestyle we want to do all that we can to make them feel valued and welcome.”
A full list of graduates will appear in Sunday’s Nevada Appeal.