Fernley celebrates graduating class of 2021

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

“There she is!” “I see her!.” Two young girls sitting atop the temporary metal railing waited excitedly during the processional as the 214 graduates in the Fernley High School Class of 2021 made their way to their seats on the school’s baseball field for the Commencement Ceremony Friday evening.

Unlike their predecessors last year, who had their traditional graduation ceremony taken away from them because of Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s graduates and their families and friends got to celebrate in person, and they did so enthusiastically.

Lillian Nattress sang the National Anthem.

Shouts of joy and congratulations greeted the students as they entered the field for the ceremony, and again as their name was called to cross the stage to receive their diploma.


In her welcome address, Senior Class President Samantha Funk thanked the people who have helped the graduates along their journeys.

Salutatorian Shaundrika Cassinelli also thanked the FHS teachers, staff and administrators, and parents for being a constant stream of support. She also thanked the graduates for never giving up on themselves and those that surround them.

Sandy Cassinelli, mother of Salutatorian Shaundrika Cassinelli, places the Salutatorian Medal around Shaundrika’s neck before her speech.

Her speech focused on how this year’s graduating class dealt with the unexpected and embraced the unpredictable.

“We all had to grow in new ways to achieve success,” she said.

Cassinelli cited a quote by Marie Forleo, “The key to success is to start before you are ready.”

She said the students walked into high school four years ago as meek freshmen.

“I remember walking in the door my first day and thinking, ‘Am I ready?,” she said. “And the answer was no. I most definitely was ready. And that was okay, because neither was anyone else.”

But she said, perseverance becomes a habit, and determination becomes your support. She spoke of how everything changed when Covid-19 shut down the world. However, she found the positives in it.

“I had the opportunity during the shutdown to try out new hobbies, spend more time with family, and grow closer to friends,” Cassinelli said. “While classes were small, we were given the opportunity to become friends with those we may not have originally associated with.”

Now, as they continue on with life, Cassinelli told the graduates she hopes they look back on their past successes and look forward to future goals.

“It will not always be easy, and you may find yourself asking, ‘Am I ready?,” she said. “It is then I hope you remember that you will never be ready to start, but you will always find success after you do.”

Dennis Davis places the Valedictorian Medal on his daughter, Valedictorian Kyara Davis.

Valedictorian Kyara Davis said the class has 2021 has faced many challenges due to Covid-19 and missed out on many things, such as their sports seasons, Homecoming, Winter Dance and much more.

“We have persevered and made it through a year like no other,” Davis said.

She thanked some of the teachers over the years who she said had a profound effect on her over the years. For the Class of 2021 she reminded them that it isn’t always about the destination.

“Whether you are going to college, going to work, or starting a family, focus on the here and now,” she said. “Don’t be so focused on the future that you neglect today.”


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