‘Ridiculously excellent’: Incline High celebrates seniors
Tahoe Daily Tribune
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Incline High School celebrated its 53rd annual commencement celebration on Tuesday, June 21.
Principal Tierney Cahill expressed gratitude for the perseverance of the staff “while managing a pandemic, figuring out technology for distance, hybrid and blended learning, staying 6 feet apart, managing mask wearing, snow days, smoke days, and ever-changing scenarios.”
After two years of unrest the school year began with a cloud of smoke but quickly gave way to student success.
Cahill started the school year with a social media campaign which challenged the staff and students to be “ridiculously excellent.” The students answered her call in a big way.
Traditionally the school presented a single valedictorian and salutatorian each, the two top students in the school. Prior to Cahill’s time with the high school, research was used to put together qualifications to allow for more students to be distinguished. To qualify for valedictorian students must achieve a grade point average of 5.0 (weighted) as well as an unweighted 3.8.
To get above the traditional 4.0 students take advanced placement and honors classes. With honors classes there is the potential to receive 0.025 points added. For AP classes, if the students pass the rigorous test at the end of the year, 0.050 points are added to the GPA. The school district aggregated a list of college level courses that also allow for the students to get dual credit while weighting their GPA. Dual credit means that each student gets high school credit while also getting a head start with college credits.
All nine valedictorians have over a 5.0 GPA.
“It’s encouraging the students to really challenge themselves and take rigorous coursework while not punishing them for missing .10 of a point,” Cahill said. “Students were taking college courses all over the place for dual credit.
“Valedictorians came up with meanings for each of the letters in Highlander that represent what they stand for, what it means to them to be a Highlander and what they have learned along the way,” Cahill added. “Our kids are really accomplished; I am so impressed with them.”
In a collaborative effort of the nimble-witted nine formed an acronym as their legacy for students to come.
Kenna Mirzayan said “The two H’s in Highlander stand for honor, it is given and received in what you do every day – is the small acts of kindness and gratitude and respect you hold for others, compassion shown to the community and loyalty you show yourself.”
Jordan Stephens said, “The I is for independence” after acknowledging the lifelong dependence on family and staff he said “We now truly hold the freedom and power that comes from being independent which will carry us forward into the next stage of life.”
Andrew Bilotti gave the letter G the word gratitude. “Thank you to our family, friends, teachers and anyone else who have helped shape us into better individuals.”
Rebecca Noble noted the L is for leadership, “The strong leadership in our class is one of the main reasons why we have been so successful in high school and will therefore succeed in life.”
Ava Winter said, “A, adaptability — We all faced individual demanding challenges that may have impacted our mental health, usual activities, routines and livelihoods but we are united in the fact that we learned how to cope and make every situation as memorable as possible.
Brooke Gutheil said “N, notability – Among many disciplines, our class has shown our hard work and effort in the form of accolades, awards and charitability back to the community.”
Emily Manship said “D, Determination – We have spent the past four years, already characterized by immense individual growth and change, in unprecedented circumstances.”
Lupita Ramirez Gomez delivered her section of the speech on E for experience in both English and Spanish. “Everyone sitting here today is unique and comes from a different background with something special to bring to the table. As a class, we admire our differences and even though some of us encounter cultural and language barriers we overcome them. We are devoted to our school.”
Ben Rock finished the acronym off with Ready “We are trained to succeed, trained to see the opportunity in the challenge, trained to make the best of every situation we encounter.”
Ashleigh Goodwin can be reached at email@example.com.
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