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Top Tigers ready for next step

Three-quarters of Douglas High School’s valedictorians and salutatorians plan to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, next year.

However Douglas High’s top academic and Minden native Wyatt Kremer’s first big step into the world will be a 2,800-mile trek across the country to attend Yale.

He said that challenges such as the coronavirus can be overcome with patience.

“We can overcome this and emerge on the other side stronger,” Kremer said. “This is really just temporary. It’s something we can’t do anything about. But we can choose to be happy, and carry on and not let it faze us.”

Kremer plans on pursuing a joint degree in math and physics on his way to graduate school where he will study particle physics.

He said he enjoys math’s formalism.

“It’s a way to talk about problems, and even view the world in a very mechanical, yet organic way,” he said.

Kremer was born at Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center in 2002 and has participated in science-related projects since he was in elementary school.

He spent three years participating in the first Lego League at Piñon Hills Elementary School, where he first started programming.

“I learned that I like being on a team and being able to work together on a problem,” he said. “Each person had to know their part when they went to talk to the judges.”

Kremer is president of the National Honor Society at Douglas High, and participates in the Tech Club at the school.

Salutatorian Quincy Russell is a runner, who competed in Douglas High School track and field.

She grew up in Reno, where she attended Caughlin Ranch Elementary and Swope Middle School. She and her family moved to Washington sate for her eighth-grade year before returning to Nevada, where they live in the Gardnerville Ranchos with her family in time for her freshman year.

She will be living in the dorm while attending the University of Nevada, Reno’s honors program.

Russell wants to combine her love for the outdoors with computer science to conserve wildlife.

“My dream job is being a GIS technician for the Audubon Society,” she said. “I really like birds and really want to save them. I think my technological skills can best be used for that.”

Her inspiration resulted from working on a trail crew with the U.S. Forest Service where she met an intern ranger, who was doing the same thing.

Russell codes in C++, Java and Python. One of her most memorable experiences at Douglas was building solar rollers and taking them to a race in Reno.

She produces music in the future base and lo-fi hip-hop genres. She was last year’s second place Poetry Out Loud presenter, which she said she did as an extra English credit.

The school’s Jump Start class generated a valedictorian and salutatorian for the last time this year.

Mike Rubio and Olivia Ross-Dee both received associates degrees from Western Nevada College in general studies, which will advance their university careers significantly.

Valedictorian Mike Rubio plans to attend the Don Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.

A skier, he said his interests lie mainly in English and history and is thinking about an emphasis in political science.

In what might be a prescient move, Rubio decided to take all his college classes online this semester.

“I did it because I didn’t want to drive,” he said. “It seemed like a good plan.”

When Rubio isn’t in school, he’s doing general labor for a small construction company, which has provided him with some important lessons.

“Sometimes you have to put your head down and push forward until you get through to the other side,” he said. “I’ve been lucky.”

Jump Start Salutatorian Olivia Ross-Dee has lived in Carson Valley her entire life and plans to attend veterinary school.

“My mom owns her own pet-sitting business, and I live on a small ranch with some horses, goats and foster dogs,” she said.

She said she will do her pre-veterinary work at UNR and hopes to attend veterinary school at Fort Collins, Colo.

She said that she and a friend decided to try the Jump Start program almost as a whim.

“I wasn’t sure about it right before my junior year,” she said. “It’s a wonderful program. It changed my life.”

She said she did miss out on some of the traditional high school activities.

“I wasn’t expecting to miss out on so much,” she said. The Jump Start kids had to focus on the bigger picture and had to grow up a little faster.”