Dramatic end for VCHS senior
Appeal Staff Writer
Daniel T’ai Burns has his eye on two types of arts – dramatic and medical.
He got his first taste of running a theater troupe this year and plans to continue through the summer and beyond. He hopes to do a few low-budget plays with the troupe, and will look for sponsors to help with expenses.
Burns, one of 36 graduates from Virginia City High School, was the student director of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” over the winter break. He directed four one-act plays and one full-length play for the Virginia City High School Theater Muckers spring performance.
The pony-tailed, soft-spoken T’ai prefers Russian and German roles – he played Trotsky in one of the one-act plays.
“In theater, I learned about myself,” he said. “I don’t feel I am gifted naturally, but with dedication and hard work, you can maintain a steady lifestyle and make yourself happy.”
T’ai credits former Virginia City High School English and theater arts teacher Bill Beeson with inspiring him in both theater and life.
“He got me involved and gave me the ability to believe in myself and know that with dedication you really can do anything you put your mind to.”
He also credited his friends, especially his girlfriend, Megan Huffman, a fellow student well known in town for her singing voice and acting talent, who got him more interested in music.
Burns is in the top five in his class, achieving a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
Working at Dayton Veterinary Hospital on Enterprise Road has given him a love for medicine.
He plans to attend Western Nevada College in the fall majoring in medicine-related studies and minoring in theater arts and music.
Though he enjoys working at the vet’s hospital, he leaned toward treating people, though he admitted that sometimes “people can bite worse than dogs.”
T’ai’s road to his future began Saturday, during ceremonies at Virginia City High School’s gym.
The seniors quoted from James Dean for their motto this year: “Dream like you’ll live forever, live like you’ll die tomorrow.”
Science teacher Larry Van Pelt jokingly advised students to continue their education so they can make a lot of money “to support your parents in a manner they would like to live.”
In a more serious note, Van Pelt, who by Comstock tradition was chosen by the members of the senior class as the speaker, advised them to keep an open mind.
He also advised them to travel as much as possible.
“There’s no better way to get a perspective on the world or the country,” he said.
Salutatorian Robert Barrington compared a student’s life to a tree, with the roots being their education.
“They begin in primary school, expand in middle school, grow deep in high school and then anchor our lives,” he said. “In later life, we will be grateful for our roots.”
Valedictorian Alyssa Knight talked about how people she meets react when she tells them she is from Virginia City High School, a place of learning with just 150 kids in the entire school.
“They just say ‘wow,'” she said. “Nothing else, just ‘wow.'”
The school had prepared her and her classmates for whatever they do. Some will go on to college and others will go straight to work, and “either is OK.”
“After graduation all our safety bubbles will be popped,” she said. “Some will try to cover them with duct tape and others will try to rip them off. We’re all individuals.”
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or by calling 881-7351.
Virginia High School Class of 2008
Shannon Marie Adamson,
Christopher James Bailey,
Robert Wesley Barrington,
Brittaney Ann Bomar,
Daniel T’ai Burns,
Justin William Byars,
Megan Breann Cousins,
Jared Dean Craig,
Megan Elizabeth Culleton,
Kyle Duke Day,
Kristopher John Eaton,
Sierra Nicole Fielding,
Emily Jayne Fisher,
Krysta Rose Guiney-Olson,
Jolene Elizabeth Harsch,
Joshua Steven Hughes,
Skyler Kolin Jones,
Alyssa Nicole Knight,
Jacob Forbes McCain,
Goldie Lea McCauley,
Molly Paige McGregor,
Kirsten Lee Maccario,
Amadeo (AJ) Martinez,
Morgan Lyndel Mason,
Christopher Alan Melançon,
Daniel Darwin Millim,
Cory Allen Monroe,
Lyndsi Dawn Pope,
Dennis Richard Rondeau,
James Rudolph Roth,
Kelly Erin Smiley,
Shaye Elizabeth Segale,
Matthew Mark Zulim
Source: Virginia City High School