“Change in life is the only constant,” said Anne Hale-Smith, adding that worry is normal.
Churchill County High School’s class of 2017 graduated Friday on the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex’s football field, featuring guest speaker Hale-Smith, CCHS girls basketball coach and a physical education teacher.
“Life is tough,” the coach said during her speech. “But it is tougher if you’re stupid.”
The beloved coach and teacher, who led her team to win the state championship in an inspiring journey and with an outstanding group of young women, spoke about what her players call “Life Lessons.” She had noted jokingly she doesn’t hand out advice since she’s still trying to figure out life.
“I have made thousands of mistakes and learned thousands of lessons, and if I can help one of you — it will be worth it,” she said.
Hale-Smith suggested working toward a dream but to always have a back-up dream. She shared she was feeling a little lost and worried she may never find a profession and as a young 17-year-old in college went to talk to her counselor.
“He asked me, ‘What are you worried about? Change in life is the only constant … So consider yourself normal,’” she said, describing the interaction.
The coach also shared a famous quote: “Life is what happens while we are planning for something else.”
Hale-Smith talked about being uncomfortable and how attitude seems to be key. She added that separation and hard work — not an overnight success story — are often times necessary.
“Throughout my life, I have been blessed beyond belief to work with some great people,” she said. “Co-workers, teachers, players and coaches who achieved great things through a dedicated lifetime of work. In watching and learning from these people, I have found one thing in common. It’s not that they worked hard, though they did. It’s not that they overcame adversity, though they did. It’s not that they took care of the tiniest of details necessary, though they did. It’s not that they did the things that made them uncomfortable, though they did. It was always the attitude in which they worked.”
Valedictorians Melinda Fagundes and Joe Terry also spoke during commencement, and Naval Air Station Fallon did an aircraft flyover.
During Fagundes’ speech, she shared a story of how after first obtaining her driver’s permit she was scared of driving to Reno. Her mother went with her and after pulling over during Fagundes’ “white-knuckled” commute told her daughter that it would be OK, and she would get better.
“She was right, like moms always are,” Fagundes said. “I can now drive to Reno and in Reno like it is second nature.”
The top-of-her-class graduate said the point is the future can seem hard and scary but that’s because we’re not used to it.
“Soon we will be able to conquer what we were once sacred of without even thinking about it,” she said. “So don’t stress out; one day what scares you will become second nature.”
During Terry’s speech, he thanked the “community-oriented” city of Fallon (home to Terry for a year and a half) as well as the teachers for all they do — their commitment to providing knowledge and “future readiness.” He added how being a Greenwave has instilled the qualities of great leaders into students: confidence, integrity, passion and patience.
“To think this little old town in the middle of nowhere did this,” he said. “Fallon shaped us into leaders, innovators, people that are going to change the world. We are the ‘come out of nowhere kids.’”
Terry concluded with a quote from the 1986 movie character Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
The high school’s seniors who received their college associate degrees May 22 through Western Nevada College’s Jump Start program included the following: Misaki Clare, Colton Coverston, Cassidy East, Vivian Jusino, Dalton Kaady, Raymond Plasse, Malory Pruitt, Lana Quint and Whitney Skabelund.