From best friends to top of the class

Photo of Jessica Basa, Carson High School's 2015 valedictorian.

Photo of Jessica Basa, Carson High School's 2015 valedictorian.

Jessica Basa and Sarah Christl are like two peas in a pod; they are both Carson City natives, they are best friends and they are the top two in their senior class at Carson High School.

Basa is the Valedictorian and Christl is the Salutatorian for CHS. Both with grade point averages more than 5.0 thanks to a steady schedule of AP and honors classes.

“One of my best friends is valedictorian,” Christl said. “We are excited that it is us two friends and we are girls. It’s just pretty cool because usually it’s a lot of males (who are top of the class) so its cool it’s girls.”

For both girls, getting to the top two wasn’t their ultimate plan throughout high school, they just wanted classes that would be intellectually stimulating.

“It wasn’t my goal going into high school,” Basa said. “I didn’t sign up for all hard classes, it was that I wanted to challenge myself and still have fun. So I didn’t take all AP classes that I could take, I took ones that interested me and that was good enough to be top of the class.”

“Ever since I was in the eighth grade, I always pushed myself and it wasn’t always competitive with me (to be at the top of the class),” Christl added. “It was more like ‘oh I want to take this class or this sounds exciting.’ For me it’s been about the learning experience so all that hard work has paid off.”

Basa to attend Washington

Basa plans on attending the University of Washington in Seattle to pursue her interest in coding and web design. She will major in computer science. Though she’s unsure what she wants to do with that degree, she’s thinking about creating a program for elderly people to teach them how to use new technologies.

“I really like coding, and I am in web design, so I come up with HTMLs in CSS,” Basa said. “(Computer science is) a broader field and I’m not really sure what I want to do, I just know I want to work with computers, but I have always had this idea for the elderly program.”

In high school, Basa was involved in student council, SkillsUSA and golf at CHS. She also skis, snowboards, plays piano and guitar and is a black belt in tae kwon do.

“So I can beat people up and beat them at math,” Basa said chuckling.

For Basa, going to school was about taking advantage of new opportunities in learning.

“The journey has been a lot of homework, a lot of studying that has paid off,” Basa said. “I like school, I know a lot of people don’t realize how much it is a privilege to go to school and learn and even though I may not be good at one subject or another I like learning about new subjects, just how the world works and how people sat down and came up with these things.”

She hopes to continue to learn and gain new experiences in Seattle. That was why Basa decided to go to UW over her second choice Georgia Tech, so she could see a new culture in a big city.

“I’m excited about starting a new chapter, I have lived in Carson my whole life,” Basa said. “I have traveled a lot, but I have never lived in a big city before and going to Seattle will be cool to see how it transitions for me and to see a new culture. I wanted to go to Seattle because of the culture of the city, it was a place I saw myself making new experiences.”

Though she’s ready to become a city girl, Basa said she’s going to miss the feel of a small town.

“I am going to miss the closeness,” Basa said. “We are a small town, there is only one high school. I will miss just knowing everyone, and going to football games, cheering on people you know on or off the field, and cheer with people you know. Just that familiarity.”

Christl to attend Arizona

For Christl, taking a lot of AP classes didn’t just help her GPA, it helped form who she became as a person.

“I couldn’t imagine how high school, or how I would be different as a person taking different classes,” Christl said. “It’s weird to think about. It wasn’t just for the GPA boost, I really got some life lessons out of (my AP classes). They shaped who I am today.”

Christl said one of her favorite teachers was her AP Literature and Language teacher, Jason Macy because his classes gave Christl a new challenge.

“His class was cool because that is where I feel like I found my voice,” Christl said. “It really expanded my mind on things.”

Another teacher who inspired Christl was her SkillsUSA advisor and web design teacher, Sherri Kelley. Christl described Kelley as a “second mom” to her, and it’s Kelley that got Christl interested in web design, which may be the career path Christl takes.

Christl is attending the University of Arizona in the fall, and plans to go into business and marketing. Though she isn’t completely sure what she wants to do with that degree, she’s thinking about opening her own video editing business.

“I kind of picked business because it is so broad and you can apply it to anything plus it is kind of the dream to work for yourself and I have also been really interested in creating and editing videos,” Christl said.

At Carson High, Christl was a self-proclaimed “club nerd.” She was involved in organizations such as SkillsUSA, Link Crew, National Honor Society, was the senior class president on student council, played varsity volleyball, and was voted most school spirit by her class.

“I keep myself busy,” Christl said. “I love Carson High School. I just think it is the greatest, so I will go all out for sporting events, I just love our school.”

“I feel like I made the most of it,” Christl added.

Though she has been in the top 20 of her class, a lot of people didn’t expect she would be awarded as Salutatorian.

“I’m not a very textbook learner so I think a lot of people were surprised that I was Salutatorian,” Christl said. “I feel so honored because there are so many well-educated, smart kids in our class, so just being in the top 20 is humbling.”

For Christl, her years at Carson High were great, and she said she felt nostalgic and would definitely miss the people she has met here and the things she has learned.

“Our class we are all dispersing all over for college which is sad because I have loved growing up here and it is like a reality check not being able to see everyone all the time,” Christl said. “I love learning so much and all my teachers this year have been incredible and I am actually a little sad to leave it all. Senior year goes by so fast, it was like a blink of an eye. I am so sad that it is over but I am excited to start the next chapter in my life.”


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