Bighorn News: Hershey Grant helps connect Bighorns and community

From left to right Alyssa Ayers, Lila Montero, Anna Springfield and Halle Feest tie a blanket.

From left to right Alyssa Ayers, Lila Montero, Anna Springfield and Halle Feest tie a blanket.

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By Hunter McNabb

Students buzzed as colorful fabrics were laid about the busy cafeteria tables. High school and middle school students were busy chatting, cutting strips of fabric, tying knots, and connecting to improve the community.

The “Bighorn Blanket-a-thon” was ultimately a success as different generations of students came together, collaborated, and worked to support the older community in Churchill County by creating fleece tie blankets to donate to local charitable organizations.

Student Body Secretary Hunter McNabb applied for the Hershey Heartwarming Action Grant last year and received the award to support a program that connected multiple communities across the campus and region. Through the grant application, student leadership also learned about the real-world opportunities to secure program funding and the basics of grant writing. Significant support from student organization advisers helped facilitate the uniqueness of the events and develop leadership skills.

The program also provided a mentorship opportunity for high schoolers to answer questions about the opportunities in high school and encourage participation. The event included both Middle and High School student councils, as well as the Oasis National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society chapters. The connections between youth leadership organizations provided an invaluable networking opportunity and a way for student leaders to stay connected.

"For some students, making the transition to high school from middle school can be difficult. One way to help bridge that transition is through relationships,” said Eric Grimes, academic adviser. “This project helped build relationships between middle and high school students so next year, especially for our eighth graders, the high school won't seem so foreign when they get there because they will recognize familiar faces."

To learn more about the variety of leadership programs, opportunities, and charitable programs available for Bighorns both in high school and middle school, contact Interim Chief Executive Officer Rochelle Tisdale at

Brooke Manskie was involved with the Bighorn Blanket-a-thon’.


Senior Spotlight: Mackenzie Bryant

A snowy day in fifth grade will stick out as a favorite memory for graduating senior Mackenzie Bryant.

“We had finally gotten snow in Fallon and my teacher at the time, Mrs. Christine Mori had stopped the lesson and let us go outside. We worked together as a class to build a huge snowman,” Bryant said.

The snowman activity is just a small example of the inclusiveness Bryant has felt during her time at Oasis.

“When I first started Oasis, I was in the third grade. I wasn’t very good at making friends and being social so for the first two weeks, I stood on the wall and watched the other kids play,” she said. “Then one day a couple of girls walked over and asked if I wanted to play. They were very welcoming and made me feel included. That’s how I would describe Oasis.”

It’s not just the students that created that environment though. The staff are also part of building a unique educational setting.

“The staff members at Oasis really show that they care about the kids. Like the office ladies taking the time to memorize each kid and their name. Or the amount of extra support that the teachers offer when they see a student struggling. And the high school counselor and advisor who help kids with their academic dreams after high school. They help make sure we’re staying on track and succeed,” she said.

Mackenzie Bryant


Counselor Andy Lenon is someone Bryant would like to thank for his support.

“I would like to thank Mr. Lenon for everything he’s done. Since he started at Oasis, when I was in fifth grade, he’s always been about the students,” she said. “He’s the person you can go to and know that he’s really listening to what you’re saying and he will do everything he can to help whatever issue you have.”

“Aside from that, he’s also the teacher that is also every student’s friend. He’s not judgmental and he knows how to take a joke, especially when we make one about his baldness. Every class or meeting with Mr. Lenon there’s always laughter and storytelling,” she added.

Along with completing school work on time, Bryant has more advice for future students.

“Friends come and go. Time does its thing and sometimes people grow apart and that’s okay. Don’t let a run-down friendship ruin your prime years,” she said.

Bryant will graduate in May with her high school diploma and associate of arts degree from Western Nevada College. She plans to then attend the University of Nevada Reno and student Biology with the goal of eventually becoming a genetic counselor.

From left are Morgan Noorda, Ruby Hiskett, Hunter McNabb and Gavin McLean.


Nevada State FFA Officers visit the Bighorn Herd

By Hunter McNabb

Nevada FFA State President Morgan Noorda and Vice President Gavin McLean visited Oasis Academy in mid-November. The officers learned about the Oasis FFA chapter program goals and met with school officials. Oasis was the first stop for the officers as they began their chapter visits.

After attending a luncheon and meeting with all Oasis FFA members, Noorda and McLean toured Oasis facilities with Oasis FFA officers. They also discussed program opportunities and hosted several interactive leadership workshops for FFA members. The workshop emphasized the importance of communication and connection for leadership, as well as supporting the importance and value of agricultural education.

“We are honored to have state officers visit Oasis Academy. We are the only charter school in the state with an FFA program and it is great that they take the time to come to our campus, meet with our students and learn our goals,” said Rochelle Tisdale, interim chief executive officer.

Later this year, Oasis FFA members will continue to work with Nevada State FFA Officers at state conferences, leadership training, as well as competitions held at the state convention in the spring.

To learn more about Nevada FFA, you can visit or to learn more about Oasis FFA you can contact adviser Jackie Bogdanowicz, at


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