Students encourage to ‘write their own story’ | NevadaAppeal.com

Students encourage to ‘write their own story’

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus

Students from this year's graduating class of the Churchill County School District's Adult Education program were told Thursday it's important for them to follow their own path rather than depending on others to guide their way.

Rick Lattin, more known for his "green thumb" in operating Lattin Farms and producing the famous Hearts of Gold cantaloupes, also spent 30 years as an instructor for Western Nevada College and worked for the State of Nevada.

Citing others, he told them about actress Kerry Washington, who attended George Washington University in the nation's capital. Paraphrasing Washington, Lattin said students need to break away from stereotype expectations and not follow others to maintain the status quo.

"Or," Lattin said, "look at all you accomplished today and use it as fuel to venture forth. Write your own story, and amazing things will happen."

Lattin said students are more than capable to manage their own lives and follow through on their goals to be successful. He told the story of how his daughter wanted to become a special education teacher, and he tried to dissuade her. Lattin said he's glad she didn't listen to his advice because he said his daughter has been a successful teacher.

"Each of you has your own individual journey in wanting to learn," he said, adding students have the ability to serve as role models for others.

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Lattin said th students overcame obstacles, persevered and accomplished their goals like an employee did for Lattin Farms. He had a worker who took his earnings and sent them home to Mexico so his children could receive an education. The man's son and daughter eventually became teachers and two other children entered the medical field.

"The value of getting an education is the most invaluable thing you can do," Lattin said, referring to a governor's wife who offered sound advice.

Lynn Strasdin, director of the Adult Diploma Program, presided at her first graduation since Arlene Detomasi retired in 2017.

"I'm happy to celebrate the success you are so deserving," Strasdin said.

The first-year director and former high-school teacher said graduation is not the end and encouraged students to continue with their education, goals or careers.

Dr. Sandra Sheldon, superintendent of the Churchill County School District, handed out diplomas with trustees Phil Pinder, Carmen Schank and Kathryn Whitaker. Strasdin also recognized Terri Laca, who is retiring as officer manager after 18 years with the program.

Of the 22 graduates, five attended the one-hour ceremony. LaDonna Gaines said she never gave up on school but had to attend adult education because of pregnancy. Receiving the diploma was worth it.

"What kept me motivated were my kids," he said. "I said mommy is not giving up on my goals."

Juggling family and school, Gaines is the restaurant department manager for McDonald's. Her future goals call for her to take courses in nursing.

This year's graduates included the following: Betsy Alger, Milissa Allen, Christopher Bynum, Jessica Calhoun, Claryssa Crapo, Symantha DeVoss, Amber Ennis, Shannon Fowler, LaDonna Gaines, Cheyenne Gearhart, Andrew Gonzalez, Jordan Heaverne, Alyssa Hooper, Megan Malin, John Matarazza, Briana Plants, Veronica Romero, Jillian Shelton, Holly Smirnes, Miranda Smith, Ariel Tomb and Justice Wilmoth.