Farewell to school Day(ton)

DATYON -- As members of the Dayton High School class of 2002 lined up to march in front of their families and friends, a mixture of emotions ran through them.

"Sometimes I want to cry then I want to laugh," said Vanessa Stephens, 18. "I'll miss all my friends."

The 142 Dustdevil graduates earned about $997,000 in scholarship money, 11 were named Nevada scholars, four received the Presidential Award for Academic Achievement and more than half received the Millennium Scholarship.

"You should be proud of what brought you here today," their principal

Teri White told them. "Continue to make every day count and look to the opportunities life presents."

Ron Laird Junior is eagerly awaiting life's next opportunity.

"I'm extremely happy to get the heck out of here," he said. "I'm going to school in Hawaii so I can't wait."

Others held on to high school memories.

Joanna Herring and Tee Baratti, both 18, competed in pole bending and barrel racing throughout high school. They each wore jeans, cowboy boots, chaps and spurs under their graduation gowns and cowboy hats beneath their caps.

"It shows this is what we love," Joanna said. "This is our life and it's what we'll do forever no matter what anybody else says."

Bri Savage, 18, also added extras to her graduation attire. She pasted fairy wings to her back and adorned her cap with sparkley ribbon. "I wanted to stand out a little bit," she said. "It's fun and it helps when you're nervous."

Perhaps the two students who most needed to calm their nerves were valedictorian Jennifer Greer and salutatorian Misty Weatherhead who addressed the audience during the ceremony.

However, they both met the challenge. Jennifer thanked her friends and teachers for their support with special gratitude for her parents.

"Thank-you to my parents for teaching me to always do my best," she said. "I'm honored to be your daughter."

She thanked God utmost and ended her valedictory speech with a prayer.

Misty encouraged classmates to take the "road less traveled" by reading the Robert Frost poem.

Teacher Shanna Krueger told how teenagers have been misunderstood and undervalued throughout the course of history in her commencement address.

"Adults have worried that teenagers are the worse generation," she said. "I realize teenagers are not different, they're just not finished yet."

If you go

Carson High School graduation is 10 a.m. today at the Carson High School football field.


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