Churchill County High School Class of 2019 leaves a legacy
LVN Editor Emeritus
Churchill County High School’s Class of 2019 left a legacy that occurs once or twice for every generation.
Numerous achievements in the arts, state athletic titles and more than $2.5 million in scholarships … the Fallon students achieved success in both the classroom and on the court or field of competition, whether it was sports, dancing, Junior ROTC or band.
The spirit of the night energized the graduation’s beginning as a flyover by a Longhorns Search and Rescue helicopter from Naval air Station Fallon followed the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Co-valedictorian Lauryn Mulac, the top student in the Jump Start program, looked back at the joys of being a student.
“Everyone says that high school is the easiest part of our lives; however, we all know how stressful it was even though it was still a lot of fun,” she said.
“It has been quite the adventure for all of us. And I know I sound cliché, but sometimes the cliché just works. We all have made many memories here that I know we’ll cherish for a long time. We may remember the stress and anxiety that we felt about important projects and finals, but above all, we will remember the friends we made and the great times we had.”
The senior class that numbered more than 240 students excelled in Jump Start, a program that began with Western Nevada College and local high school entering into a partnership where students could obtain both high-school and college credits. As a result, many students last week earned both two-year associate degrees and a high-school diploma.
“I started the JumpStart program in my junior year and got to experience college while still being in high school,” Mulac said. “It was a very rewarding program since many of my fellow JumpStart students and I have recently graduated with our Associate Degrees.”
She added the two-year journey included late nights and stressing over assignments. Sometimes, procrastination resulted in burning the midnight oil.
“We all got to experience the extensive work college throws at you, and at times, we felt like we were drowning in all of the assignments and their due dates,” Mulac explained. “There never seemed to be any time to relax and just breath, but we made it to the end. We couldn’t have done it without all the support that came from those closest to us though.”
Co-valedictorian Stephanie Therianos represented the overall senior class an said each person has a unique gift for learning.
“I believe that everyone has a specific type of aptitude that can help promote success in life regardless of perceived academic performance,” said Therianos, who was the student commander of JROTC. “This doesn’t mean that future graduates should slack off — I say that it’s important to find your inclination and to develop it with perseverance; in turn, finding your path that leads to the most fulfillment.”
Therianos urged her classmates to follow their passions as they plot the future but to enjoy the night’s graduation ceremony.
“Celebrate this occasion because there’s no better point in our standing where we’re all together and still connected as this moment,” she said.
Students Angelo Vann and Logan Rochester had mixed feelings about graduation.
“It’s a blessing that I am here,” said Vann, who’s undecided on his future plans. “It’s so exciting that I got a feeling inside that wants to make me cry.”
Vann thought the year went by fast. Rochester, though, said he didn’t think graduation would come.
“It’s taken forever,” said Rochester, who will attend Truckee Meadows Community College to become a computer technician.
He said graduation marks the start of a new chapter, a progression of everyone’s lives.
Brandon Sanders, a former university football player and currently a coach with CCHS, served as this year’s graduation speaker. He interspersed his remarks between inspiration and personal experience in learning more about himself.
“The atmosphere is right,” he said of the commencement ceremony. “It’s all about energy.”
Sanders had the seniors stand up and shout their approval of not only themselves but also of the graduation event. He said the night was about excellence in how the seniors separate themselves from average
“Be passionate,” Sanders urged seniors by having them stand again to let Northern Nevada know who they are. He said being a nobody and adversity can’t their passion away.
First, Sanders said he’s a nobody, but he once thought he was a “somebody” until adversity affected his life.
“Adversity stripped me,” he said. “The first time in life, I looked in the mirror not as an athlete but as a person.”
Adversity, he added, changed his perspective.
“I’m a firm believer everything happens for a reason … good, bad or ugly,” he pointed out, telling seniors to understand the magnitude of their graduation day.
Sanders, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and his wife came to the Lahontan Valley in 2013 when she received orders from the U.S. Navy to report to Fallon. Their original plan was to stay for three years, which expanded to almost six year because she transferred to the Reserves.
“We have embraced this community because this community has embraced us,” he said. “We are very appreciative, and we love the community.”
Sanders told the senior that they are entering a new season, a new chapter in their lives. He said the changes may be uncomfortable because each person creates his or her own destiny, and everyone has a different path to move ahead “from this day forward.”
Sanders presented three rhetorical questions to the seniors: Who are you? What is your why? and Are you committed.
“Successful leaders balance pride with humility and absolute pride with performance,” he said, adding this combination leads to the road to humility.
Sanders illustrated his comments with personal background of how he lost a football scholarship at the University of Mississippi but found renewed hope and a second chance at Nicholls State University.
His said his value changed for the better and told seniors they are also valuable.
“Don’t let anyone take that away,” he said.
During the graduation ceremony, the seniors recognized the family of Taylar Hutchings and presented an honorary diploma on her behalf. Hutchings died in March 2015; they presented the Senior Class gift to the school; and recognized two teachers who are retiring, Music teacher Tom Fleming and Dean of Students John Johnson. Fleming’s choir, Minor Details, sung “A Million Dreams” and the national anthem. Pastor Jimmy F. Myers of the Christian Life Center gave the invocation, and Motulalo Otuafi delivered the benediction.