Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
A pair of highly motivated self-starters will graduate at the top of the Fernley High School Class of 2023 as the valedictorian and salutatorian.
Evven Johnson finishes her high school career with a weighted grade point average of 4.85 to earn the title of valedictorian, while Isabella Dumont is the salutatorian with a weighted GPA of 4.80.
They will address their classmates as the Class of 2023 celebrates its commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday on the Fernley High School football field.
Valedictorian Evven Johnson
The daughter of Rylie and Steven Johnson, has already graduated through the Western Nevada College Jump Start program with an Associate of Arts degree.
Johnson said it wasn’t necessarily a goal to be valedictorian, but just to do well in classes and be at least A range.
“My mom was very encouraging about getting straight A’s,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s family moved to Fernley about halfway through her first grade year from Pocatello, Idaho. She attended East Valley Elementary School, Fernley Intermediate School, Silverland Middle School and Fernley High School.
During her four years of high school, Johnson was a member of the girls varsity soccer four years and was a captain her senior season, and she played basketball and competed in track for four years each. She finished second in the 3A state track meeting this year with a personal record in the pole vault. She was a member of the National Honor Society for three years, serving as secretary last year and president this year. She was also a member of the student body leadership, as student body historian last year and president this year.
Johnson plans to attend Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, to major in history education with a coaching minor. She hopes to teach high school history and help leadership.
Johnson has earned the FHS Booster Club Scholarship, but is waiting to hear on the rest of her scholarship applications. Scholarships and student awards are being presented Wednesday night.
Johnson said her favorite part of high school has been competing in sports.
“That’s been the highlight of my high school years,” she said.
She said her history classes were her favorites, and when asked to name a particular mentor, she said leadership advisor Jackie Kingston has always inspired her.
She said her success comes from being self-motivated, with plenty of support from her mom and dad.
Johnson said getting A’s in her classes while taking college level classes in Jump Start and while playing sports was definitely a challenge.
“A lot of it goes back to that self-motivation, understanding how to get things done,” Johnson said. “This year did all online classes, so I was able to get a job, not because it was easier, but I was able to move my schedule around.”
Outside of school, Johnson said her favorite things to do are outdoor activities with her family, such as skiling, hiking and spending time at the lake.
“I enjoy hanging out with family, I’m also a reader and like to do crafts, and through my church I did community stuff and fun activities with youth.”
While she’s excited to be graduating and embarking on her future, Johnson said what she will miss most about being in high school is high school sports and leadership.
“I have a pretty good life at home so I’m going to miss that,” she said. “Being on my own is exciting and I think I’ll do well, but I’m going to miss being home with my parents.”
Johnson said she also enjoyed growing up in Fernley.
“It’s small enough to be involved, and it’s close to Lahontan and the Sierra,” she said.
If she were asked for her advice by incoming freshmen, Johnson said she would tell them don’t be afraid to be involved and active.
“Your freshman and sophomore year go by fast and it’s like when you’re a senior, where has the time gone,” she said. “Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your teachers.”
Salutatorian Isabella Dumont
The daughter of Gary and Monica Dumont, Isabella is also a WNC graduate through Jump Start with an Associate of Science degree.
She likewise said her drive to do well came from inside herself.
“Even B’s get me upset,” she said. “I also like to perform well and make my family proud. My dad was in the Navy 24 years and retire as chief petty officer and my mom owns her own business cleaning houses, which proves to me if you work hard and succeed you can make people proud.”
Dumont has gone through Fernley schools for her entire primary education, attending East Valley, Fernley Intermediate, Silverland Middle and Fernley High schools.
Dumont said she’s always done well in school, and when she once saw on her transcript that she was rated second in her class, she said it was her goal to work hard to stay there.
In high school, she played basketball for four years, golf for two years and was on the track team as a freshman in the year spring sports were canceled due to the Covid pandemic.
She plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno to major in biology, then attend medical school. She wants to eventually be an anesthesiologist or oncologist. Dumont said when she was in middle school, her brother Gary was diagnosed with cancer and her family spent time in and out of hospitals. Gary is now cancer-free now and living a healthy life, but Dumont said she decided then that she wanted to do something to help people in similar situations.
Like Johnson, Dumont is still awaiting word on her scholarships, although she knows she is receiving the UNR Provost Scholarship.
At Fernley High School, Dumont said her favorite teacher was David Trujillo, who retired last year. She particularly enjoyed taking his sports medicine class.
She also said Jump Start was the biggest challenge she faced.
“I don’t think I believed it when people said it’s not going to be easy, but this is not easy,” Dumont said. “I learned be lot more independent, so I don’t regret it. When I go off to college it won’t be as harsh of an adjustment, because I feel like moving out and paying bills is a very, very big adjustment.”
Dumont agreed with Johnson that it was her determination to succeed that pushed her.
“I wouldn’t say it definitely comes easy, because there was a lot of nights I didn’t sleep,” she said.
Outside of school, Dumont said her favorite thing is to be outdoors.
“I was raised around hunting and fishing, so my favorite memories are with dad and brothers,” she said. “Also I like to cook and bake and be in the kitchen, and hang with family.”
Dumont said what she will most about high schools is the community feeling at school.
“I love the sports, just for being on a team,” she said. “You have 10 to 15 instant friends, and coaches are your biggest influence. I’ll miss seeing my friends every day.”
Dumont said she’s been happy growing up in Fernley.
“Fernley is changing a lot, it’s growing really fast, so it’s been cool seeing how the city grows and changes,” she said. “I don’t know if I want to be in Fernley forever, but I like it because my family lives here and it has good community and people.”
If she were to advise incoming freshmen entering high school, Dumont said she would tell them to enjoy it and try things that maybe a little scared to at first.
“I think I would have really regretted if I didn’t get involved,” she said.