“Find the little things that make your heart swell,” guest speaker and class of 2021 advisor Melinda Duerksen told the 12 Westwood High School graduates Friday. “For these are the things that will keep you going.”
During the June 11 commencement ceremony, the local graduates were celebrated on their academic achievements as they received their diplomas and looked ahead to their next adventures.
“These students have been through a lot this past year and a half,” said Superintendent/ Principal Michael Altenburg. “They’ve faced adversity, and they all have adapted and worked hard to overcome unique obstacles to be here tonight. They’ve done it with grace, humor and positive attitudes about their futures. Students, family, faculty and friends, everyone of you have made an impact on the graduates who sit here today.”
The evening ceremony featured various speakers, a slideshow and a rose ceremony, where the graduates took the opportunity to thank those who have helped them along their journeys.
Salutatorian Paul Carrera spoke before the crowd, thanking those who have had impacts on their lives.
“Thank you for all your efforts you have invested in us to this day,” Carrera said.
Valedictorian German Holguin also spoke, commenting on the sense of community and involvement at Westwood High School.
He quoted Mark Twain, sharing, “The two most important days in one’s life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
“This quote, in particular, helps us understand the transition we are all undergoing. Today, as we graduate from high school, we are one step closer in deciphering Twain’s meaning behind his words. Each and every one of us are starting to piece together our future career path and whatever makes us happy,” Holguin said.
In her speech before the crowd, Duerksen noted the strength of the graduates, sharing how they will be in the history books for forever changing how students are taught and for overcoming challenges. She noted how proud she is of each graduate.
“I don’t doubt any of you. I know you can do it. You are all some of the most remarkable young men and women I have ever met,” Duerksen said.
The Westwood High School class of 2021 is heading off in different directions: Some are continuing their education, others are entering the workforce or serving their country.
Armand Carrera plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno for engineering.
Paul Carrera is off to UNR for criminal justice.
Julian Carrillo is attending Lassen Community College for business.
Savannah Hernandez is off to Delta College to study special education.
German Holguin plans to attend UNR for civil engineering.
Raymond Michaud is joining the Marines.
Seth Mollison is off to WyoTech.
Damon Potts-Handley is joining the workforce and then welding school.
Conner Sawyer is off to LCC/ Truckee Meadows Community College.
Isabella Stanfill is continuing her education at LCC.
Alexander Sullens plans to go to work and college to for their nursing career.
Keyonna Walker is joining the workforce and plans to attend college in southern California.
Moreover, Paul and Armanda Carrera were announced as the recipients of the Alumni Teachers Memorial Scholarship.
Overall, surrounded by friends and family, the 12 graduates received their diplomas and walked out of the gym to “Renegades,” by the X Ambassadors, as they embarked on the next chapter of their lives.