Pioneer High graduates move on
Attending Carson City’s alternative high school isn’t the only thing that makes salutatorian Jacquelynn Holocker a pioneer.
“No woman in my family has ever graduated from high school,” she said. “It’s an awesome feeling. It’s a lot of pressure but it’s totally worth it if my brother and sisters have somebody to look up to.”
Site principal Charles Keller commended the 26 Pioneer High School graduates during the commencement ceremony Tuesday night in the Brewery Art Center’s Performance Hall.
“We’re here to celebrate the final act of a performance that’s been in progress for 12 years,” he said. “It’s been a bitter journey. Each student has had to overcome their own obstacles along the way and learn to adjust their lives to meet their goals.”
Valedictorian Jenna Spiker understands obstacles. She finished high school while raising her 20-month-old daughter Cindi Redus.
“All that hard work paid off,” Spiker said. “I want to set a good example for my daughter. I want her to succeed.”
Spiker and fellow graduate Dustin Redus plan to wed June 15 at Lake Tahoe.
Many students credit the alternative school, with its flexible hours and individual attention, for their ability to graduate.
“The school certainly helped me get here,” said Marlon Moncada, 18. “They helped me with my grades and helped me get my credits.”
Graduates from Pioneer High School must complete the same requirements as graduates from Carson High School, including passing the proficiency exam.
And they wear the same type of cap and gown for the ceremony.
“This penguin suit,” said Naomi Stevens, 17. “It feels strange but it also feels good. Twelve years in the system and I’m leaving. Thank God.”
Family and friends of the graduates packed the hall to standing room only during the ceremony.
Michele Young came to celebrate the graduation of her daughter Brianne Young.
“It’s very, very exciting,” she said. “Words can’t describe it since she was almost failing her senior year. Now she graduated with the Millennium Scholarship. I am so proud of her.”