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Pahrump Valley senior awarded with top student-athlete scholarship

Pahrump Valley High School senior Heliane “Ellie” Sutton has been picked by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) as one of the top 10 student-athletes of the year in Southern Nevada.

She will be receiving a $1,000 scholarship toward her college education. Sutton is the only representative for Pahrump Valley High School for the 2021-2022 school year.

Last year, two students from Pahrump Valley earned this scholarship.

Sutton will finish her education at Pahrump Valley this spring with a 4.0 grade point average. She was a member of multiple sports teams throughout her four years at the high school.

Basketball is Sutton’s dominant sport. She played for Pahrump Valley three out of her four years at the school. Nevada basketball players didn’t compete during the 2020-2021 season due to the pandemic.

Sutton was part of the Lady Trojans’ run to the state tournaments in the 2019-20 and the 2021-22 seasons.

“I loved playing for coach Hopkins,” she said of Pahrump Valley’s girls basketball head coach Bob Hopkins. “He is such a great guy and he’s a great coach, in general. He knows his stuff and he knows our capabilities.”

The other sports that Sutton played for the Trojans was soccer during her freshman year, volleyball during her sophomore year and tennis this past fall during her senior year. She also played tennis for the first time this season.

Her mindset going into the season was that she would get to play with her younger brother before she graduated from high school. Before playing tennis, Sutton had only ever played pickleball.

Pickleball is much like tennis, but it’s played on a small court and the ball is similar to a wiffle ball.

Following high school, Sutton is planning to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She will be going just for one semester until she reaches the age of 19.

After turning 19, Sutton will be going on a mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This mission can take up to 18 months to complete.

Following the completion of her mission, Sutton said she will be going back to school to get her degree. As for the specific degree, she still has not decided on the exact one she wants to go for, however, Sutton says that her goal is to get a degree so that she can work with kids.

During her time at Pahrump Valley High School, Sutton took a three year Early Childhood Education course that taught her about how children learn and also how to teach children.

She really enjoyed the class and she enjoys working with children.

Sutton, originally from Orem, Utah, has lived in Pahrump since she was 4. She loves living in a small town and taking in all of the beauty that comes along with it through various hikes and mountains in the surrounding areas.

In her free time, Sutton likes to hang out with her family and likes to play the piano. One of her favorite vacations with her family was last year on their trip to Hawaii.

Sutton had been previously but her whole family wasn’t able to attend. This trip, everyone in her family got to attend and it made her feel good to spend that time with her before she goes off to college and her mission.

The NIAA and One Nevada Credit Union give out the $20,000 scholarship every year to the top 20 student-athletes across the state of Nevada. Ten students are chosen from northern schools and 10 students are chosen from southern schools. Each student receives $1,000 to further their education.

The criteria for the scholarship is based on the student’s academic status, participation in sports and their work within the community.

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