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June 5, 2014
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Graduation 2014: North Tahoe’s top achievers look toward future

TAHOE CITY, Calif. ­— The finish line is within sight for North Tahoe High School seniors. Of 63 graduates, seven will do so with the distinction of valedictorian, and two as salutatorian.

Graduates who have earned a grade point average of 4.0 or above are recognized as valedictorians, according to the school, while the top ranked graduates after valedictorians are named salutatorians.

Graduation takes place 4 p.m., Tuesday, June 10, at Laker Stadium at 2945 Polaris Road in Tahoe City.

The nine top academic performing students recently were asked to answer a few questions about their high school career and future plans. Read what they had to say below, in no particular order:

Zoe Anderson, valedictorian

Post graduation plans? Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Major: psychology.

What is the most important lesson you learned throughout your high school career? “Never take life too seriously. It’s going to feel like your entire life depends on the one decision you make, or the one test that you either pass or fail, but it doesn’t. Your life is going to go on. Everything is going to work itself out. You’re going to have second chances. Try not to stress over the small things.”

What will you miss most about North Tahoe High? “I’m really going to miss going on trips for all the sports that I’ve done. I’ve had some incredibly fun times and made some great memories, and I think that’s the way that I’ve become close friends with a lot of people.”

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? “I would say join a sports team, and actually go to practice, follow through. If you’re going to be on the team, really put your whole self into it. Be a reliable teammate because if you put in the effort and the time that everybody else on the team does, you’re going to make some friendships that will stay forever and that will be very strong. Plus, it’s super fun.”

If you had the chance to do your high school career over, would you do anything differently? “I would definitely study more for my SATs and not stay up super late the night before at a track meet or honor band, both of which I have done. It’s not fun the next morning, and it matters more than you think it does on your college applications.”

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? “I hope to see myself making lots of money at a job that I love and living in a beautiful place in a house that I like. (Basically) just having a good time with my life, doing something that I love.”

Jack Blackmon, valedictorian

Post graduation plans? Tisch School of the Arts at NYU for dance.

What is the most important lesson you learned throughout your high school career? “Time management, especially because I dance in Truckee, and you kind of have to figure out how much time you can allot to eating and how much time you should allot to actually doing homework.”

What will you miss most about North Tahoe High? “I really think I’ll miss how welcoming the environment is. Everyone here is so friendly, always. I’ve never not felt comfortable.”

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? “If you plan on going to college, really research all your options thoroughly, so that when time comes around for applications and financial aid, you understand the process.”

If you had the chance to do your high school career over, would you do anything differently? “Not really. I don’t have any regrets.”

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? “In 10 years I hope to see myself dancing professionally, preferably abroad in Amsterdam or Copenhagen — they have really good dance scenes.”

Taylor Briggs, valedictorian, summa cum laude*

Post graduation plans? University of Utah, Honors College and taking a summer program at the university for women in science and mathematics. Interested in pre-med.

What is the most important lesson you learned throughout your high school career? “Don’t procrastinate too much. It’s a bad habit.”

What will you miss most about North Tahoe High? “The close-knit community. Everyone here is friends whether they’re students or staff. That really makes it a pleasant place to spend the day.”

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? “Be active in your decisions early. Don’t spend a year taking classes you don’t care for and then realizing afterwards that you got nothing from them.”

If you had the chance to do your high school career over, would you do anything differently? “I would probably try more things early — sports, classes. Never shoot anything down; open yourself up to different options because who knows what you may end up loving.”

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? “Hopefully, I’m all out of school and living somewhere that I love.”

Bozhie Pokorny, valedictorian

Post graduation plans? Working, taking classes and hopefully skiing or ski coaching before attending UC Berkeley, College of Letters and Science in spring 2015. Major: integrative biology.

What is the most important lesson you learned throughout your high school career? “If you put in the effort, things can go your way, and it’s never too late to change your mind about things.”

What will you miss most about North Tahoe High? “The area and the sense of community. It’s kind of like a family, everyone that you know here, including the teachers and all of your peers (is) because you’ve grown up forever. Also, it’s a nice place. There’s a lot of activities, so I’ll miss the activities.”

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? “I would say don’t worry about things that don’t matter because if you do, most things will fall into place and just focus on the things that you need to do actively.”

If you had the chance to do your high school career over, would you do anything differently? “I would probably take more advantage of the resources available and talk to administrators when I was a freshman or a sophomore because I’m a lot more involved now.”

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? “I don’t know.”

Noah McDermott, valedictorian

Post graduation plans? Saint Mary’s College of California and running on its track and cross-country teams. Major: kinesiology.

What is the most important lesson you learned throughout your high school career? “To be true to yourself.”

What will you miss most about North Tahoe High? “The athletics — all the fun competing and the family you create with North Tahoe sports.”

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? “High school is what you make of it. If you want it to be a great experience, you have the power to.”

If you had the chance to do your high school career over, would you do anything differently? “No, I think I had a great high school experience, and I wouldn’t change anything about it.”

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? “Traveling a lot, living in Tahoe and having fun.”

Wildon DesLauriers, valedictorian

Post graduation plans? San Diego State University. Major: Undeclared, but interested in business.

What is the most important lesson you learned throughout your high school career? “To set goals for myself and to achieve them.”

What will you miss most about North Tahoe High? “Skiing and friends, especially a few (current) juniors.”

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? “If you’re on a sports team, do what the seniors say.”

If you had the chance to do your high school career over, would you do anything differently? “I would just study for the SAT more, I think.”

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? “With a job, hopefully, living in the mountains.”

Ethan Faye, valedictorian

Post graduation plans? UC Berkeley, College of Letters and Science. Major: Undeclared, but interested in pre-med.

What is the most important lesson you learned throughout your high school career? “’If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.’ (Meaning) be prepared for anything.”

What will you miss most about North Tahoe High? “The skiing and the area.”

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? “Stay out of the Forbidden Forest, aka the senior parking lot.”

If you had the chance to do your high school career over, would you do anything differently? “(I would have) gotten more involved in the early years — freshman and sophomore — with clubs.”

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? “Hopefully, graduated from medical school.”

Kameron Abi-Nader, salutatorian

Post graduation plans? Westminster College to study nursing.

What is the most important lesson you learned throughout your high school career? “Probably that I need to keep my doors open because I thought I knew what I wanted to do, and of course, changed by mind about 50 times throughout high school.”

What will you miss most about North Tahoe High? “Probably the people here. Everyone is really supportive and most people enjoy doing the same things I do, so I’ve just made a lot of good friends that I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with throughout all my activities.”

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? “Join sports and clubs. It’s the best way to make friends, and it makes you well-rounded and looks good on college applications.”

If you had the chance to do your high school career over, would you do anything differently? “I would become more involved as an underclassman with all the clubs and stuff I didn’t really join until my senior year.”

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? “With my nursing degree, skiing and hopefully, traveling, too.”

Judith Bravo, salutatorian

What are your post graduation plans? Mount St. Mary’s College. Major: Business administration.

What is the most important lesson you learned throughout your high school career? “To always persevere at whatever you’re doing and never give up on anything. Also, to not let everything wait until the last minute.”

What will you miss most about North Tahoe High? “I think just the environment of the school — how it’s really close and you know everyone. Everyone is very welcoming. It’s a really safe atmosphere.”

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? “To be involved in everything possible.”

If you had the chance to do your high school career over, would you do anything differently? “I would be more involved in clubs and other things in freshman and sophomore year and not just in the last two years.”

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? “With my degree, and I also hope to travel and be living my life and having fun.”

* Summa cum laude is a distinction given to graduates who have earned A’s in all courses taken throughout high school.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jun 5, 2014 05:23PM Published Jun 11, 2014 03:36PM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.