Blue and green contrasted with orange and black on Friday evening as 367 members of Douglas High School’s class of 2013 received their diplomas.
With less than a hundredth of a point separating them, it was only hours before the graduation ceremony that Hunter Myers learned he would be the Douglas High 2013 valedictorian and Carrina Bell discovered she would be salutatorian.
For graduates Robert Resnik and Dylan Horning, Kerry Stack’s culinary arts class was the highlight of the year.
Thanks in part to the class, Horning is starting work as a full-time chef at the Carson Valley Inn. He interned at the Minden casino for three years. Resnik said he’s joining the U.S. Air Force.
Esai Rodriguez said advanced placement chemistry was his most memorable class. He’s going to college with plans to become a pharmacist.
Douglas High Principal Marty Swisher said beating McQueen in football for the first time in 25 years was the highlight of his year, as Coach Ernie Monfiletto nodded, “Good choice.”
“Beating McQueen and Reno, and then Carson…” Swisher said. “Bam!”
His second favorite memory of the class of 2013 was the second straight state title achieved by the girls swim team.
If anything conditions on the Douglas High School softball field were the exact opposite of Lancer weather, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s as 367 graduates marched to “Pomp & Circumstance” to take their places for the ceremony.
School Registrar Anita Ovard said there were more seniors new to the district at the beginning of the year than at any time in her eight years in the position.
Swisher pointed out that the class of 2013 is the last to include students of Gardnerville Elementary School kindergarten teacher Phyllis Robison who died in 2001 from complications of cancer at age 48. A handful of seniors who started their school careers as her students stood up.
John Connor Holman was the first of the five student speakers to take the podium on Friday night.
“Dream big, be strong, and don’t settle for being less than the best.”
Class salutatorian Carrina Bell gave four reasons why the class of 2013’s reputation for being the school’s most challenging was undeserved.
She said the senior class’ willingness to show its school spirit, the class’ extreme friendliness, that they act as a family, that they never give up, were all reasons the class should be considered the high school’s most awesome.
“This is not the end of life … but the beginning of a new adventure,” she said. “Go forth with the spirit of a tiger.”
Lili Stainbrook told her classmates to remember their roots as they moved into the future.
That they should spend time with their family and remember that hard work does pay off.
Layne Stephens, who arrived in Douglas during his junior year and then left for the first part of his senior year, said his graduation speech was not nearly as difficult as catching up to those students who’d spent their lives in Carson Valley.
“It was hard to accept that I was living in a place that was 30 degrees hotter in the summer and 60 degrees colder in the winter,” he said. “I came to a place where I wasn’t in the top five students. I couldn’t appreciate this place.”
But after he left, he learned that he didn’t know what he’d had until he didn’t have it.
“I challenge you to close your eyes and remember these months, and be thankful for every day.”
Miss Douglas County Bailey Gumm wrapped up the speakers reminding the students of their common bond.
“This is the first time and the last time we will be together as a unified class,” she said. “The teachers and administrators of Douglas High School not only pushed us to be better, but to be our best.”
Ovard said 22 adults also graduated on Friday.