WHS students rewarded for work inside and outside classroom | TahoeDailyTribune.com

WHS students rewarded for work inside and outside classroom

It was more than getting a silver medal and certificate at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe.

It was hearing jokes by Gov. Kenny Guinn, bunking in a room with a bragger and wearing the medal at a restaurant while a couple wondered if it was won at an athletic competition.

Whittell High School students Shelly Zaskoda, Lorin Kline and Joe Ilk were selected as members of the Second Annual Silver State 100, a program that recognizes the top 100 seniors in Nevada for their academic and extracurricular excellence.

Jacqueline Laurian, another Whittell student, made it to the semifinals.

The three were among 400 nominees who were whittled down to 175 semifinalists. An interview before two judges decided the final 100.

“I came up with this idea, a bus crashed and 100 students showed up by default and that was my idea not to be nervous,” Ilk said.

The three will receive a $250 scholarship.

At the award ceremony last month, student body presidents mingled with perfect SAT scorers. Guinn joked the medals were so expensive the state had to sue the tobacco industry for money.

The trio, who maintain at least a 3.9 grade point average and participate in several school activities, have different aspirations for life beyond Whittell. Ilk, the student body president, sees himself being a research pathologist. Kline, president of the Key Club, is thinking about the law or medical fields. Zaskoda, editor of the school newspaper, wants to be a graphic artist.

Kline, who was interviewed over the phone, couldn’t make the award ceremony since she was visiting Washington University in St. Louis and Rice University. Zaskoda shared time between the award process and a state volleyball competition in Reno.

Ilk grabbed the opportunity to stay at the Cal Neva Resort. Ilk’s roommate from Henderson talked about his connections such as a cousin married to NBA player Shawn Bradley, a grandpa being a state senator for 30 years and an uncle who was the mayor of Henderson.

“Everyone there liked to brag a lot,” Ilk said.

But for Ilk, the joy came afterward while eating chicken fried steak at Zephyr Cove Lodge with his medal hanging around his neck.

“Some customer asked me if I was in the Olympics,” he said.

Whittell Principal Mario Gatto was proud of his students and credited the competency requirements for Douglas County.

“They are role models for other students at our school,” Gatto said.

–EContact William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com

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