- Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
An accomplished class of 210 graduates crossed the stage Friday night as the Fernley High School Class of 2017 celebrated its graduation.
The class included 73 graduates receiving honors diplomas, 78 potential Millennium Scholarship recipients, eight earning Western Nevada College associate’s degrees, 18 earning Nevada Career and Technical Education Certifications and seven members of the National Honors Society.
“The Class of 2017 doesn’t take the easy way out,” said Senior Class President Grace DeLeon in her welcome address. “We go above and beyond. We’re about hard work, perseverance and success.”
DeLeon, who was also the Class of 2017 Valedictorian, had plenty of encouraging words for her classmates in her welcome address, saying they are the future leaders, teacher and mentors of tomorrow.
“No matter which path you take after today, I ask you to keep being the best,” she said. “I ask that you keep setting goals and accomplishing your dreams, and whatever you do, do it for yourself. Don’t live trying to please your friends or family. Whatever you do, do it because you want to do it.”
She urged the graduates to live their life on their own terms.
“After you walk across this stage today, there are no more excuses,” she said. “High school can’t be an excuse to why you’re immature. If whoever you are today isn’t who you want to be tomorrow, then change. Be the change you want to see in the world.”
DeLeon struck a much different tone in her valedictory address. She told her story by describing two different girls, one who won multiple awards as an athlete, graduated with an associate’s degree and became valedictorian. The other girl she described endured a life of hardships, some of her own doing and others imposed upon her, and used her story to encourage her fellow graduates not to judge others, but instead to appreciate everything they have in life, and persevere through life’s trials.
“Prove the world wrong, that even through all your trials, you can still succeed,” she said. “Only stand up for what you believe in, because no one can take that away from you. And speak the truth, even when your voice shakes.”
Salutatorian Sam Wright said the graduates have reached the point where they must confront their futures.
“It is the uncertain path that we have been building up to for a long time,” he said. “It is our hopes and our dreams we wish to conquer and the goals we wish to accomplish. This is not the end of a journey, but only the beginning, so the world better watch out for us.”