As with every graduation ceremony, those who excelled in the classroom were recognized individually for their respective academic prowess during graduation at Pahrump Valley High School.
This year’s valedictorian was Vaniah Vitto with a 5.24-grade point average, Student Registrar Jennifer Shockley said. This year’s co-salutatorians were Kathleen Niles and Craig Moore, each with a 5.18 GPA, Shockley said.
During her address to the senior class at the May 25 ceremony, Vitto took time to thank her parents for their respective guidance and advice during her high school years.
She referred to her mother as the “strongest woman she’s known.”
“You have always been a shoulder I can cry on and my personal secret keeper,” she told the crowd. “I love you more than you could ever know, and I thank you for teaching me to be selfless. And last but not least, to my rock, my manager, my biggest fan, my best friend, and most importantly, my dad, thank you. You have taught me to love and accept everyone as they are by loving and accepting everyone. Your kindness is beyond measure. You are my role model and my hero, and with every passing day, I strive to be more and more like you. Every accomplishment I have achieved thus far is because of you, and I cannot thank you enough.”
Niles, meanwhile, took a pragmatic position, upon looking back at her time as a PVHS student.
“Not one of us took the same exact path, but we all got to the same place,” Niles said in part. “We are all here, ready to receive our diploma and then never look at the school again. Yet, maybe that is our exact problem. They always say that these are supposed to be the best four years of our lives, but I did not think that at all until I recently had a heart to heart with a good friend. I always packed my schedule so tight, and filled my plate so high, yet I never took the time to cherish what was happening.”
Though Moore’s address was short and sweet, it appeared to be quite long on substance.
He used a former NBA player to drive home his point.
“Take Michael Jordan,” he said. “Jordan, as we all know, was one, if not the greatest, basketball player of all of time. He did what he was good at and he worked hard at it and as a result, he found a tremendous amount of success. Despite his proficiency in basketball, at one time he stepped away from it and decided to try baseball and he found very little success. Eventually, he returned to basketball where he thrived again. Although I am not saying that everyone will find the success Michael Jordan did, if they pursue areas they are strong in, I am saying that his sports career can be used to demonstrate how doing what you are good at gives you the best chance of success.”
Turn of the century graduates
Shockley, the student registrar, also noted that the 2018 graduating class is comprised of individuals who were born in the year 2000.
“These are definitely our first turn-of-the-century high school graduates from Pahrump Valley High School, which is pretty exciting and of course, rare,” she said. “These are the millennial students, because most, if not all of them were born in the year 2000. They have certainly made their mark.”
Toward the end of the ceremony, Pahrump Valley High School Principal Jennifer Ehrheart made certain to remind the graduating class about the value of time.
“Graduation is a time of celebration, a time for reflecting on lessons learned and reminiscing about moments filled with special meaning,” she said. “It is a farewell. A time to say goodbye to old friends and a pack away memories for the years to come. Graduation is a new beginning. A time to look forward, dream new dreams and set new goals.”
Upon finishing her remarks, Ehrheart asked the students to stand.
“Distinguished members of the Nye County School District Board of Trustees, parents, families and guests, as principal of Pahrump Valley High School, I hereby verify that these students of the class of 2018, have successfully met the requirements of the State of Nevada Board of Education and are eligible to receive a high school diploma,” she said. “Class of 2018, the moment you all have been waiting for. Turn your tassels from right to left. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the class of 2018.”
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes
Inside the numbers
Though a total of 236 Pahrump Valley High School seniors earned their diploma, 229 actually participated in the school’s commencement ceremony, according to Student Registrar Jennifer Shockley, who noted the event attracted a “standing room only” crowd in the bleachers.
“Seven of them decided not to participate for one reason or another,” she said. “I have some going out of state for jobs and we had others actually leaving the country. It seems that some students just don’t like the big fanfare. It was a very big ceremony this year. That’s for sure.”