For the six students in a class of nine who attended graduation Thursday night, they faced extenuating circumstances that prevented them from earning the sheepskin with their original classmates.
“I left school a semester early, because I had family problems,” said Jared Miller, who received his diploma from the Churchill County School District’s Adult Education program. “I had a second chance.”
Miller said each student at this year’s graduation had different challenges, but he praised his classmates for finishing their courses and receiving a diploma.
“It took two very long years to do this,” Elizabeth Carter said. “Looking back, those two years were worth it. I’m so happy with what I’ve done.”
Carter said in her future she would like to be a foster care advocate.
Kanyon Daugherty thanked his parents for their support.
“They were always telling me to get my diploma,” he said.
Summer Stephens, superintendent of Churchill County schools, said Thursday was a night for the graduates.
“It’s a night for us to celebrate you,” she said.
Despite the challenges of balancing school with work or a family or both, Stephens said the graduates persevered. She added traditional school was never going to be to be the right fit because sometimes, students learn in other places outside the four walls of school.
Stephens encouraged each graduate to take every opportunity to learn.
“Your degree is your badge of courage,” she said, adding education is the most powerful weapon the students can use to change the world. “Continue to be challenged by new ideas and opportunities. Don’t be afraid to fail, always believe in yourself.”
Chanelle Johnson, director of the Adult Diploma Program, praised her students for achieving their goals. She also thanked Lynn Strasdin, the program’s former director for being a mentor this year; Kelsey Lee, the program’s instructional assistant whom Johnson said spent many hours helping and tutoring the students; and Kimi Melendy, director of Educational Services for her support.
Graduates are Elizabeth Carter, Jennifer Comstock, Breanna Currier, Kanyon Daugherty, Destinee DePaulis, Jared Miller, Nickole Renfro, Justin Thibaut and Ashlee Thomsen.