Pahrump Valley High School Principal Max Buffi called it the “greatest show in town” as Friday’s 2014 commencement ceremony got underway just after sundown.
Buffi was obviously referring to the volume of family and friends who attended graduation which appeared to exceed last year’s total.
Friday’s estimated crowd was upwards of 1,200 invited guests.
Buffi this week reflected on the latest group of students who made the walk this year.
“This is the finest 2014 graduation class that I have ever seen. The graduates worked hard all year to get where they are now and I as well as the staff couldn’t be more proud of them,” he said.
Buffi also said that this year’s graduation program was slightly altered as the ceremony began a half-hour later than in years past, due mainly to the weather.
“Years ago when we held graduation at 7 p.m., it was hot. We moved it back to 7:30 hoping that we could get out of the heat a little bit earlier. This year we listened to the graduating class and decided to move it to 8 p.m., which I thought was a wonderful idea because the sun is down and it’s not as hot as it usually is. All in all, I thought graduation went really, really well,” he said.
More than 220 students met the graduation requirements this year.
At least 20 students were members of the school’s senior honor society.
Valedictorian Andrea Sposato gave an address that touched on a range of subjects, including family, friends and the past four years of her high school career.
She spoke about her two sisters, both of whom are past PVHS graduates who went on to bigger schools, the University of Reno and Arizona State University respectively.
The valedictorian will attend the University of Arizona.
“My sisters Sam and Laura have expressed the sentiment of how glad they are that I didn’t come first. The thing is, girls, I’m glad I didn’t come first, too. How could I be here tonight without having learned from the two greatest role models I know? As a girl, I wanted to be just like you. The both of you make me proud every day. My parents are my biggest support. Without them, I would not be speaking to you tonight. My mom taught my math class in eighth grade, but she taught me so much more. My father is the hardest working man I will ever know. I hope that one day my work ethic will be at least as decent as his,” she told the crowd.
Sposato also gave credit to her little brother who will enter high school in the not too distant future.
Salutatorian Jennifer McCaw will attend Boise State University on an athletic and academic scholarship later this fall.
McCaw recognized her fellow soccer teammates who made four straight state title appearances along with three consecutive title games, earning the school two state championships.
She said she hopes that what the team accomplished on the field can be an inspiration to other students.
“Together we hope we have inspired many people to work hard and instill that teamwork does indeed make the dream work. The main part of being a student athlete is being a student first. It may be considered somewhat clichéd but it is true — you get out of your education what you put into it,” McCaw said.
Agreeing with the salutatorian, senior James Devine said he is just excited to know he has finally wrapped up the final chapter in his high school career.
Devine said he wants to eventually become a veterinarian.
“I’m happy to have graduated and be done because it took a lot of hard work. You just have to keep trying and soon you’ll learn you can conquer it. If you just keep pushing on and try as hard as you can, you’ll succeed,” he said.
Devine’s father Daniel said he’s proud to see his eldest son set an example for two future PVHS graduates.
“He’s the first of three kids to graduate. His mom and I were very adamant about him working hard on his studies every day to achieve this goal,” he said.
Davon Anderson was beaming with pride following Friday’s graduation.
He said he wasn’t planning on participating in this year’s ceremony by making the traditional walk because he technically graduated earlier this year.
“I’ve been in kind of a sluggish mood lately but I’m really glad I came to my graduation. I’m still trying to figure out my plans for college. There’s a number of different things I’m thinking on doing, maybe even the military.”
Additionally, Anderson imparted one bit of advice for his fellow underclassmen.
“Don’t do what I did and slack off. Stay awake in class and get things done,” he said.
Equally proud was Anderson’s father Edgar who noted Friday was the second time an Anderson graduated from high school.
“He’s my second son to graduate. I also have a daughter who graduated. I am so proud and he’s my last one to graduate. I did the last 10 years as a single dad. He wanted to come to Pahrump and ride his dirt bike and I told him as long as he did well in school, we can live here, so we bought our house. We’ve been here three years,” the elder Anderson said.
Vice principal and guest speaker Elaine Wabbel drew big laughs when she poetically summed up the 2014 school year for the graduates.
Wabbel wrapped up her 30 plus years as an educator on Friday as well.
“No more pencils. No more books, no more of Mrs. Wabbel’s dirty looks. No more pencils. No more books. No more students’ dirty looks,” she told the crowd.
Humor aside, Wabbel also spoke of the many potential careers that are now awaiting the graduates.
“Tomorrow you could be joining the military, going to college, finding a job or getting married and becoming a parent. Other events make you take a look at your lives and reflect on where you’ve been, where you are and who you will be,” she said.