Oasis graduates 29 seniors in virtual ceremony

Twenty-nine seniors graduated from Oasis Academy College Prep in a virtual graduation last month.

Twenty-nine seniors graduated from Oasis Academy College Prep in a virtual graduation last month.

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A virtual graduation, the first of its kind for Oasis Academy College Prep because of COVID-19, saw 29 seniors complete the final milestone of their high school education.

Just like previous years, Oasis Academy featured several speakers, including Andy Lenon, the school’s counselor, and Cheryl Venturacci, academic adviser, who have seen this group of students grow before their eyes. The school’s top student, Emily Richards, spoke about how this generation’s milestones have been bookended by remarkable events.

“Tragedy is nothing new for our generation,” Richards said. “Most of us were born right before or after the horrible events on Sept. 11, 2001, and the war on terrorism has been persisting in our entire lives.”

And now, the class of 2020 graduated during a pandemic that forced schools in the Silver State to switch exclusively to distance learning and end all extracurricular activities and sports. For Oasis Academy, the Bighorns were looking to make a big splash in sports with the girls lacrosse and softball teams poised for state runs.

Instead, Oasis Academy’s 29 graduates will begin the next chapter in troubling times across the country.

For Lenon, who came to Oasis Academy in 2016, he talked about the effects of the educator-student relationship. Just as it is important for an educator to have influenced a student to pursue better things, a student can have a lasting effect on a teacher.

“It’s not about what we do for you students. It’s also about what you do for us as educators,” said Lenon, who discussed that this class put others first and made everyone around them feel important. “It is the little things. You showed up with smiles. You showed up selfless. You showed up caring.”

Venturacci, a longtime Fallon resident, said this year’s class may not remember who spoke during the virtual graduation, but the 29 seniors will not forget the experiences, especially the last two months that saw more families spend time together.

“The brightest moments you will remember from your senior year are the dinners, board games, puzzles, bike rides and hikes you’ve taken with your family,” she said. “You may not know it now, but you’re going to miss this. 2020 will not be forgotten.”

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