3 CCHS grads serve as Peace Corps volunteers
Three Churchill County High School graduates who did not attend this week’s homecoming celebrations are Madellynn Christie, Erik Endacott and Blane Merkley.
On Monday afternoon they arrived in Dakar, Senegal, to begin a 27-month adventure as Peace Corps volunteers. Following high school graduation, each student took a different path.
Endacott, who graduated in 2014, pursued an agronomy degree from Iowa State in Ames. Christie, CCHS Class of 2015 valedictorian, earned a degree in Environmental Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, while Merkley studied agricultural science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Unbeknown to each other, they individually applied and were accepted for Peace Corps service in the Republic of Senegal.
If that is not enough of a coincidence, Rotary Club of Fallon sponsored these three international service-minded volunteers to attend and complete Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. RYLA is a highly selective and intensive weeklong leadership experience organized by Rotary clubs and districts where high school students develop leadership skills, make connections and learn to live a life of “service above self.”
Endacott and Merkley will be serving as agriculture extension agents. Christie’s assignment is in agroforestry. They will spend the next few months in pre-service training where they will receive detailed instruction on language, cross-cultural adaptation, technical skills and maintaining their health and safety during their two years of service. Upon completion of training, they will be sworn in as committed Peace Corps volunteers and will begin working in their assigned regions. They most likely will be living and serving in communities without electricity and running water. If all goes as planned, they will complete their service and return home in late November 2021.
The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 235,000 Americans have served in 141 countries worldwide. Nevada has 35 residents currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.