Bighorn News: Oasis valedictorians reflect on their years at Oasis

Kailyn Sorensen, Tayler Felton and Maiya Swan are this year’s co-valedictorians at Oasis Academy College Prep.

Kailyn Sorensen, Tayler Felton and Maiya Swan are this year’s co-valedictorians at Oasis Academy College Prep.

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Oasis Academy College Prep prides itself on preparing students for the rigorous curriculum they will face at college and offering an opportunity to get a jump start on college through dual enrollment classes.
This year’s co-valedictorian — Kailyn Sorensen, Maiya Swan, and Tayler Felton — excelled in the rigorous program. All three graduated with 4.0 GPAs, a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, and will have earned over 180 college credits combined.

“Being a valedictorian is a big honor and it took a lot of hard work to get here. I feel very proud and accomplished,” said Sorensen.

Swan said her success is attributed to two words, “hard work.”

The hard work sentiment is something both Felton and Sorensen concur.

“Working hard and turning work in on time helped me get to this point,” Felton added.

The three students will continue their education in other states. Sorensen will attend Brigham Young University to study to be an optometrist; Swan will attend the University of Arizona to study Global Studies; and Felton will attend the University of Tarleton to study business and become part of the school’s rodeo team.

“I am looking forward to moving to a new place and experiencing new challenges,” Felton said of what the near future looks like.

Reminiscing on the years the three were asked what they wish they had been told before starting high school.
“You are the only person responsible for your grades, actions, and experiences,” Swan said.

“I wish I knew that teachers are willing to work with you and if you put in the time and effort it will pay off,” Sorensen added.
“I wish I was told that it goes by faster than you think it will,” Felton said.

Oasis Santos Class Book Tasting
Students from their reading classes enjoy “Book Tasting.”


Classes enjoy Book Tasting
Melinda Santos’ third- and fourth-grade reading classes celebrated finishing the end of testing by enjoying a book tasting party. Their classroom was transformed into a restaurant with silver platters of books, fancy glasses, and candles lighting each table.

“Students were invited to select books from different genres and read each selection for five minutes before moving on to another choice. This gave students an opportunity to ‘taste’ each book to see if it's a book they would like to add to their must read list,” Santos explained. “The main purpose of this activity was to expose students to a variety of books that they might not have otherwise selected. While reading, students were served various appetizers and lemonade by Chef Santos (Mrs. Santos).”

At the end of the tasting, the number one question asked was, "Can we do this again?"

Oasis softball coach Rachel Payne, far right, was named as the 1A West Softball Coach of the Year.

Softball Coach of the Year
For the second consecutive year, Oasis Softball Coach Rachel Payne has been unanimously voted the 1A West Softball Coach of the Year.

"We are extremely proud of Coach Rachel and her Bighorns softball team. She has been a tremendous pioneer for Oasis sports, and her program is a model for all future Oasis programs,” said Oasis Athletic Director and CFO Dusty Casey. “Rachel is very deserving of the Coach of the Year award, and her staff, Coach Brandon Bird and John Short, deserve a tremendous amount of credit as well. Congrats to the entire team on a fantastic year."

The award is voted on by fellow coaches in the league.

Oasis Gavin Bracken


Senior Spotlight: Gavin Bracken
Senior Gavin Bracken has many things from his time at Oasis Academy that have influenced his life and that he is going to miss.

“I would like to thank Ms. Jackie Bogdanowicz, the biology and physics classes were so much fun. Also, my favorite class was ART111 Ceramics with Mrs. Jeanne Evatt. That class was simple, yet fun and I was able to take it with all my friends. We all had a great time,” said Bracken of some of his teachers and classes.

His other favorite memories come from participating in We The People. Overall, Bracken said, “My time at Oasis was great, the teachers were great, and the classes weren't too hard.”

Bracken was also active in athletics during his high school career, participating in varsity cross country all four years.
The senior graduated with his high school diploma and Associate of Science degree from Western Nevada College. He will attend the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall with the goal of eventually attending medical school.

FFA installs new officers

The Oasis Chapter of FFA held its annual banquet in May. The evening included awards, recognition, and the installation of the newly elected officers.

New FFA officers are, back row, from left, Stacie Bogdanowicz, Eddie Morrow, Hunter McNabb and Hailey Arends. Front row, from left, are Saray Hernandez, Ruby Hiskett, Aubrey Vaughn.

Awards and recognitions were handed out to community members, staff, and students’ family members who have helped throughout the year. FFA Honorary Degrees were presented to Krista Smith, Mike Blea, Terry Arends, Amy Arends, Jennifer McEwen, Jake McEwen, Anne Bloomfield, Carissa Gardner, Jason Gardner, Eric Grimes, Heidi Hockenberry-Grimes, and Cheryl Venturacci.

Chapter Degrees were awarded to Ruby Hiskett and Tyler Siebecker. Discovery Degrees were given to Cadence Wiessmer, Kaylee Craig, Reese Laca, and Isabella Hockenberry-Grimes.

Hunter McNabb was also recognized as he will be competing in the National FFA competition in the fall.

Newly-elected officers include President Stacie Bogdanowicz, Vice President Eddie Morrow, Secretary Hunter McNabb, Treasurer Ruby Hiskett, Reporter Eneyde Rios, Sentinel Saray Hernandez, Historian Hailey Arends, and Parliamentarian Aubrey Vaughn.

“This year the FFA members have been able to move back to a much more normal year and I know we are all very grateful for that,” said teacher and FFA adviser Jackie Bogdanowicz.

“The students have also been so supported by our community. It has been a very busy and very good year. I am excited to see how the chapter will grow and change in the coming year.”


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