Senator Square: Principal leads teachers and students through uncertain time

He is the fearless leader of Carson High School, and he is taking his teachers through uncharted territory in order to guide them into successfully teaching and caring for their students during this time of uncertainty.

His name is Gavin Ward, and he is doing a fantastic job as the Principal of CHS, being both available and supportive while encouraging teachers, students, and even parents to engage their students with much-needed health, hope, and heterochromatic learning.

Might have to look up heterochromatic, but it is worth it. All right, the definition is “Of several different colors, or in physics, wavelengths.” Not using this word just to be funny; it is a visual image and multifaceted picture of not only what is happening at CHS, but what is happening throughout Carson City School District and, probably, around the world. CCSD is moving through a never before seen step-by-step approach to, as CCSD Public Information Officer Dan Davis puts it “At-home lessons, breakfast, and lunches during school closures as the CCSD recognizes the situation regarding COVID-19 is very fluid, with conditions changing rapidly.” Davis also said, “School employees should continue to work as directed by their site administrator or school principal.”

Even though teachers are being encouraged to work from home, many of them are in their classrooms putting packets together and learning new types of technology to meet the needs of their students. Principal Ward has been at school every day, weekends included. This man is fielding emails and phone calls from all directions and doing the best he can to effectively build something never built before on such a grand scale. He also knows just outside the front door of CHS, meals—lunch for that day as well as breakfast for the following morning—is being served in bags in a “grab ‘n go” style either in a drive-thru or walk-up method. When has a school district ever had to feed those who are not even at school? On top of all of this, Ward has to make sure students do not consider the school closure as an extended Spring Break, which means teachers are currently building lesson plans and materials for students to work on remotely each day of the school week.

Beginning Monday, students will begin remote learning via distance teaching methods available through weekly materials provided online or through printed packets available for pick-up from the school’s office. Student engagement and participation will be documented too. Visits to the school should be coordinated with site administrators. Please continue checking the CCSD website and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for further updates. Please know that Principal Ward is so kind towards everyone, so appreciative of what everyone is doing to help, and so compassionate about what they are going through.


Dear Senior Project 2020 Judges: It is with great sadness we will not be able to include your participation in the Carson High School Senior Project 2020 portfolio review, speeches and presentations which were scheduled. The threat to the community’s health and welfare, the need for social distancing, and the mandate against crowds brought on by the world-wide Coronavirus pandemic, has forced the Senior Project committee to make this decision. If and when things return to some normalcy, this year’s senior projects will be presented in CHS classrooms. We appreciate you, Judges, for stepping forward and volunteering your time to this source of CHS pride. The Senior Project has a 20-year history at the high school, has grown in stature, and is a source of fulfillment and success for our seniors. Please do not go away! We hope you will look forward to next year’s Senior Project Program and say yes to your involvement. In the meantime, stay well, stay safe. Sincerely, Senior Project Committee, Patt Quinn-Davis, Senior Project Committee Chair, and Melisa Kunter, Senior Project Coordinator. Contact Melisa Kunter at 283-1640, or email for more information.


Carson High debate participated in the District Level Rotary Speaking Competition at the Carson Valley Inn recently. Jocelyn Estrada placed second and Emerson Spence placed first. Emerson and Jocelyn are both seniors this year and competed against Douglas in this competition, and the speeches they gave were required to be five to seven minutes long and address the topic: Making connections to promote lasting change. The next level of the competition has been cancelled due to Corona Virus concerns. Their coach, CHS Social Studies teacher Patrick Mobley, is also an amazing individual himself. He has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, is a Two Diamond Coach in the National Forensic League, is also on the Northern Nevada Forensic League Executive Committee, and has his endorsement for Teaching English as a Second Language.


The Carson City Craft Fair is accepting applications for new vendors. Those interested may apply online at Look to the left side of the screen under Quick Links and click on CHS Holiday Craft Fair. Interested vendors may also call Cathy Barbie at 775-882-8109. Barbie said, “The show is juried, and we will be meeting at the end of March to approve applications.”


Put on hold, but not forgotten, FCA recently celebrated the awesomeness of CHS by hosting both a Root Beer float giveaway and a Knock-out Basketball event during their Tuesday meetings and get-togethers. Though these events already happened, it is hoped those who see how much exciting student support and everyone plays Fellowship of Christian Athletes activities these students have will want to join in and add to the fold. For more information about FCA, please email adviser and CHS teacher Ty McMillen at


Regarding their San Francisco adventure, J. Andrew Sonnemaker, CHS Fine Arts Department Chair and Choral Music Educator, said “No San Francisco trip for Dr. Fox’ and my ensembles, and Choir-Palooza, Band-O-Rama, Nevada Music Educators Association All-State, Nevada Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, are all cancelled, but we are working with Forum Music Festivals, the tour company to whom we sent all of the finances collected, on what can and will be refunded for these students and their families; I will be contacting all of the families directly regarding this refund process.” However, Sonnemaker is not giving up and neither should the students nor the community. Sonnemaker said, “I am working on finding a platform to produce a viewable internet recording of at least a virtual performance of the literature we were preparing for, along with all of these separate ensembles.” Amidst the letdowns, there are still some celebrations. Sonnemaker said, “Congratulations to some awesome human beings, who also happen to be terrific musicians, on their successful auditions for the 2020 Nevada Music Educators Association 2020 All State Choir.” They are Saga Anderson, Mikha Espiritu, Sophie Fliegler, Ethne Myler, Emma Tuttle, Dominic Ceragioli, Hunter Crouser, Xander Holcomb, Quentin Powers, Ian Remington. Sonnemaker is still at work, and he would love to hear from those interested in helping out, so please call 283-1778, or email him at to find out more.


Senator Scholarship Scoop is online at by clicking Academics, Counseling Department, and The Scoop on the left. The CHS Guidance Office is also available to help students choose and apply for scholarships. Call 283-1915, or email counselor Amanda Chambers at to make an appointment.


Friends and parents of soon-to-be graduating seniors, please consider celebrating their success by writing a personal message or submitting friend and family photos or Buddy Ads to the 2020 Carneta yearbook. Buy a personal ad in the 2020 book to congratulate a graduating senior or student. Parents submit family photos, and the Carneta staff then design and place these photos and Buddy Ads in a special section of the yearbook. Often, senior friends, Buddies, get together and buy an ad, collecting photos which hold memories of their favorite times through the years. Buddy Ads are still being accepted. Email Journalism and Language Arts Teacher Patt Quinn-Davis at to order an ad or ask for more information. Ads may also be purchased through the school and online.


GNCU is awarding up to $60,000 in scholarships to qualifying students. Since 2000, GNCU has helped more than 320 students Live Greater by awarding more than $429,000 in scholarships. The 2020 Scholarship Program is now accepting applications through March 27. Scholarships are available in two different categories: Twenty-five $2,000 scholarships for students age 24 or younger at the time of application, who are a Greater Nevada member, or the child, spouse, or parent of a Greater Nevada member, and five $2,000 scholarships for students age 25 or older at the time of application, who are a Greater Nevada member with a valid account number. Scholarship winners are selected based on financial need, academic performance, community involvement and educational and professional goals. The scholarships may be used for tuition, course registration, special classes or laboratory fees, room and board, textbooks and class materials as part of undergraduate, technical or trade school education. Scholarship applications need to be postmarked, submitted electronically, or hand delivered to a branch no later than 5:30 p.m. April 30. CHS seniors may also drop them off at the Attendance or Guidance Office no later than 1 p.m. April 30.


Do not give up hope just yet. The Annual Father-Daughter Ball, a community-wide event for all ages held at CHS, was coming April 3, but, like the 2020 Senior Prom, these events are not cancelled, they are just on hold. Please email CHS Social Studies teacher Angila Golik at for more information on the dance, and email CHS Leadership teacher Ann Britt at for more information on the prom.


English as a Second Language Para-Professional Maria Navarette nominated Reyna Ruiz-Castaneda as the CHS Student of the Week. Navarette said, “Reyna was selected because she shows learning interest in the classes I am with, turning in homework and asking questions for understanding while in class.” Navarette also said, “I would like to add that Reyna is smart, dedicated, responsible and a role model to follow as an ESL student; she is an amazing student who I do not have any doubt will accomplish her goals, dreams, and be successful, and I am so proud of her!” Congratulations to Reyna Ruiz-Castaneda.


The Rotary Club of Carson City recognizes a senior student each Tuesday of the month following their nomination as either the Carson High School or Pioneer High School Senior in the Spotlight. However, due to current circumstances, the meetings, which always begin at Noon and are held at the Brewery Arts Center in the upstairs banquet room, have been temporarily suspended until further notice. These students are always honored for their many accomplishments with a delicious lunch and a beautiful certificate. A senior from CHS is recognized every Tuesday, with the exception of the third Tuesday each month where a senior from Pioneer High School will be recognized. Questions about the selection and election process, please call the CHS Guidance Office at 283-1910 or Renae Cortez, Executive Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and Board of Trustees of the Carson City School District at 283-2100.

Phil Brady is an English teacher at CHS.


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