Mile markers, milestones for Dayton grads | NevadaAppeal.com

Mile markers, milestones for Dayton grads

Dayton High graduate Amanda Acosta waves to her family after receiving her diploma on Wednesday night.

Students filed onto the Dayton High School football field one last time Thursday night, adorned in maroon and silver caps and gowns, smiles brighter than the setting sun.

Milestones were the theme of the night, with the students celebrating all they have achieved thus far and all they have to look forward to.

Daniel Piel gave the commencement speech, relating the graduates' life journey to that of traveling down Route 66. He described how each milestone in their life represents a mile marker on the route.

"Route 66 goes through unfamiliar places but leads to an enchanting destination," Piel said.

He also spoke about the various detours life can provide. Piel talked about how the students should remember some pieces of advice: tell the truth, don't tolerate injustice, build good will and morality, be beneficial for those involved and remember service above self.

"Enjoy your travel, enjoy your journey on Route 66 and may God bless and enrich your lives," Piel said.

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Piel also took the time to thank the staff, students and families for all they have done over the last four years.

"None of you would be here today without that ongoing support," Piel said.

The school honored and went through each student who received awards and honors, including seven students who completed dual credits and graduated with a high school and associate's degree.

"This is why I am a fan of this particular class," Piel said. "These are all mile markers to guide you on your travels through Route 66."

Salutatorian Abigail Sikora also spoke about high school's milestones, but compared them to dogs instead. She compared the different stages of high school to various breeds of dogs, from the annoying and energetic chihuahua as a freshman to the lazy enthusiasm of the Bassett Hound as seniors.

"And now you get to choose what kind of dog you want to be," Sikora said. "Now no more asking before we can go to the bathroom."

For valedictorian Mackenzie Montero, the journey through high school was best represented through musician Drake.

"We started from the bottom and now the whole team here," Montero said.

The graduates walked across with smiles on their faces as a Nevada sunset faded behind them and they collected their last piece of high school.

The school also provided posthumous recognition diplomas to three students who were unable to graduate with their peers. The families of Andrew Oppendahl, Jerricho-Wade Simon and Gage Wilkinson accepted diplomas on behalf of their sons.

As the students turned their tassels, signifying the end of their journey, principal Steve Henderson gave them one last goodbye.

"We wish you success and we will miss you," Henderson said.