Silver Stage holds its second commencement ever |

Silver Stage holds its second commencement ever

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Silver Stage High student Stephannie Worden tapes tags on the reserved seats in preparation for the graduation ceremony Thursday evening in Silver Springs.

When Silver Stage High School opened in 2002-03, Shannon Thiessen came in as a sophomore, leaving Dayton High School behind.

Last year, she was a junior, but had made many senior friends. So she made a surprise slide show of the students and showed it during their commencement. Forty-two seniors graduated.

“I spent many, many, many hours putting it together,” she said. “I got really, really close to them and I wanted to do something for the graduating class. This year, I said I’d step forward and do it again.”

So in addition to Thursday night’s eight-minute slide show featuring every student, she graduated, too – in a navy blue cap and gown in front of her mom, stepdad, 20-year-old sister from Alberta, Canada, and little sister.

“My plans are not to cry until I get to the blue gym (where the reception will be),” she said. “That’s my plan, but it’s not a guarantee. I think I might cry when I give my mom the rose.”

During the ceremony, which began at 6:30 p.m., each student left their seat after the reading of a poem called “The Rose,” to give a single flower to a person in attendance.

“They will present a rose to a family member or someone who has been very supportive in their life,” said senior class advisor Rebecca Jones. “They’ll reach under their chair and take it to the person in the audience who helped them (most ) get through.”

Thursday morning, students put up final touches in the gym. Courtney Cavener, 18, who came to Silver Stage from Round Mountain High School, said she is the first of her brother, sister and cousins to reach high school graduation.

“I’m kinda sad, but excited,” she said. “Excited because I can go out and be on my own.”

The 18-year-old taped labels that read, “This seat reserved for a family member of Courtney R. Cavener,” to a row of a dozen unclaimed chairs.

“I have a ton of family,” she said. “I’ve invited my brother and sister, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. … I’m not going to have enough seats for all my family.”

But they will see her as she proceeds in from the back and walks to the front rows with her classmates.

They will also hear as Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, valedictorian Matthew Burton and salutatorian Matthew Garito speak.

Some 22 of the seniors are expected to receive Millennium Scholarships. Sixteen percent will attend a four-year college and 45 percent will attend a community college, vocational education or technical school.

Senior Brandon Boede is one of them. He will use his $500 Booster Club Scholarship and $1,000 National Association of Realtors Scholarship to attend UTI Tech School in Avondale, Ariz.

“I’m excited because I finally get to go into the real world,” he said.

Thiessen is planning on spending her four years at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to study therapy and sports medicine. The end of her slide presentation, shown before diplomas were handed out, sent students on their way.

“You are going to be missed at Silver Stage High School,” a slide reads. “Congratulations 2005.”

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at or 881-1219.