Inspired Pioneer High seniors ready for next step | NevadaAppeal.com

Inspired Pioneer High seniors ready for next step

For many Pioneer High School students, the last four years represented more than essays and tests; it was about the lessons learned and the bonds created that will last a lifetime.

Fifty-four students graduated from Pioneer High School on Tuesday night at the Carson City Community Center, with more than 700 people filling the auditorium with cheers and laughter.

"My favorite part of high school was this whole ceremony, I have been dreaming of it all my life," said Michelle Hawkins. "It is exciting to be here in person. It was an emotional roller coaster."

Among the graduates, there were two honors diplomas, five advanced diplomas and three adult diplomas. Five students also were awarded with the Millennium Scholarship for students with a grade point average higher than 3.25 and are attending a Nevada institution for their post-secondary education.

Several students also were honored for participating in the Health Occupations Students of America program, Jobs for America's Graduates, Jumpstart, the Career and Technical Education and more.

"It is bittersweet, but I am so proud to see the families and hear what they are going on to do in life," said PHS Principal Jason Zona. "It is inspiring."

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Zona said he was proud to hear of students planning on going into the military, law enforcement, education, nursing, professional sports and more.

"That's the kind of stuff that just gets to you," Zona said.

Several of the students were even graduating early, completing high school in only three years.

"It feels good to have graduated early," said Lindsey Hamby. "I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to graduate early… so I'm happy."

For some, it was difficult though to be graduating with those outside of their class.

"I am supposed to be a junior so it is sad that I am not with the kids I grew up with," said Jeremiah Beauford.

But, that didn't stop it from being a momentous occasion.

"I think every graduation is the best thing about high school, whether it is your graduation or not," Beauford said.

Ultimately, for the students, it was the bonds they made with their classmates that made high school.

"I think I'll miss most is just the bond we grew, it is amazing," said Hawkins. "I think you take it for granted at the time… We grew as a family, we were so close and now we have to split up but nothing will ever break us up."

She said it was those bonds that taught her the best lesson in high school:

"Don't take life too seriously… high school was so quick, it was crazy how fast it went by but you just have to have fun," Hawkins said. "Make all of the bonds you can."