This year, Nevada State High School (NSHS) celebrated their graduates with three commencement ceremonies. Sothern Nevada’s Class of 2021 graduates attended one of two ceremonies at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center in the heart of Las Vegas on Saturday May 22nd. Our Northern Nevada graduates from the Meadowwood Campus celebrated at the Grand Sierra Resort Silver State Ballroom on Tuesday May 25th.
Although 2021 was a momentous and challenging year for all students, NSHS’s Class of 2021 persevered and achieved great success. While navigating a global pandemic, our graduates attended rigorous college classes, participated in social events, and completed community service requirements virtually without missing a beat. This year, nearly 500 graduates walked the stage at the Nevada State High School graduation ceremonies. All of these students earned college credits, and over 70 students graduated high school with their Associate Degree from the College of Southern Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College, or Western Nevada College.
During the honorary graduation procession at the Thomas & Mack Center, graduates were greeted by grinning staff and the overwhelming cheers and applause of their family and friends who were sitting socially distanced in the stands. The national anthem was beautifully performed by Jenessa Phillips (Henderson Downtown) and Esmeralda Sandoval (Sunrise) before Dr. John Hawk, Chief Operations Officer and school founder, proceeded with the program.
Dr. Hawk highlighted a few students’ exemplary achievements, including National Merit Finalists Tyler Norkus (Summerlin) and Nathanael Breed (Northwest), Semper Fidelis All-American Nijel Murray (Summerlin), and Brianna Francis (Henderson), who earned her solo pilot’s license while at NSHS. Our Southern Nevada guest speakers were Mr. JC Rosero and Mr. Daven Cameron, both proud Class of 2006 alumni and founders of the Nevada State High School scholarship fund at the Public Education Foundation.
In her captivating speech to her classmates, Jenna Watson, Southwest Campus Valedictorian, stated: “…[A]s I look back over this past year and my time at Nevada State High School, I’m astonished by how much good there has been in such a crazy year. From how much I’ve grown due to learning how to navigate the world of college, to learning how to connect with my fellow classmates in an environment so different from traditional high school. I’ve truly experienced something unique at Nevada State High School, and I’m ready to face the next chapter of my life after graduation.”
The Silver State Ballroom at the Grand Sierra Resort was buzzing with anticipation for the Meadowwood honorary procession. After a stunning national anthem performance by graduate Moriah Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Jesse Welsh, led the program. Thirty Meadowwood graduates graced the stage, including Valedictorian, Chelsey Fontenot, who inspired her classmates with a passionate speech about overcoming adversity:
“How you handle adversity reveals character, and the graduating class of 2021 has shown some of the most courageous and strongest character yet. Be proud of what you have done and who you are, go forward and carve out your path. Don’t be afraid to face challenges–look at what you have already been through just to get where you are today. As Haruki Murakami stated, “Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” I am certain as we come out of this storm all of us will be stronger, more confident, more caring, and ready to achieve our dreams.”
The 2021 graduation ceremonies at Nevada State High School were ones to remember. After two of the most challenging years in modern history, our students were given the opportunity to be properly celebrated for all they have achieved and overcome. Congratulations to the Class of 2021! We are proud to call you renegade alumni!