Serrano grads do an about-face New seating provides alternate view
By Terri Hill
June 1st saw another Serrano High School tradition set aside to make way for the new guard. Leaving the gymnasium the week before, Serrano held their annual awards ceremony in the Performing Arts Center. Families and students appreciated the more intimate and formal setting. At graduations in past years, the stage from which speeches were delivered, by the Principal, Superintendent, and meritorious graduates, faced west on the football field, at approximately the 50-yard line. Graduating seniors sat in rows behind the stage, so that the speakers addressed the empty space before them. Much to delight of spectators and students alike, the stage this year was pushed further east on the field, and graduates’ chairs were turned to face the dais, and away from the setting sun. Along with the obvious benefit of speeches being delivered to the intended audience, the sound quality was much improved. One spectator said, “This is my third student graduating here, and it’s the first time I’ve been able to really hear the speakers!” And, the speakers were worth hearing. After principal Dan Andrus welcomed the students and their families, Andrea Bartlett introduced the students who had earned the Seal of Biliteracy. Chris Piercy then offered the Honor and High Honors students, and the California Scholarship Federation Sealbearers. Brianna Beckwith presented the first of the three students’ speeches. Through the occasional tear, Beckwith advised her classmates, “In the end, you just have to be yourself.” She expressed her gratitude to the teachers and faculty who have helped the Class of 2017 get to this point. Beckwith also reminded he classmates that it’s “OK” to not be sure what direction their lives might take now. She said, “Many of our teachers and parents didn’t know what they wanted to do either, but they succeeded, and we will too.” Salutatorian Cydney Gage spoke to the importance of making good choices, and taking responsibility for those choices. Quoting Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore, Cydney offered, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. “Choose to work hard, choose to be kind, to help others, and choose to do hard things.” As Valedictorian, Sarah Nolt-Caraway gave the final student speech. Sarah, finishing her year with a weighted GPA of 4.72, will attend Northern Arizona University in the fall. She plans to study biomedical science and geology. Sarah urged the graduates to give themselves permission to make mistakes, and to change their minds. She encouraged them to set high goals, and make the effort to reach them. As Superintendent Dr. Ryan Holman addressed the graduates, he too became a bit choked up as he told them how proud he is to be a Serrano graduate himself. Holman expressed his joy in working with the students and staff, and the honor of certifying the graduates of the Class of 2017. As their names were called, graduates ascended the stage to receive their certificates and pose with either Dr. Holman or Snowline Board of Directors’ Christina Behringer. They then stepped down behind the stage, where professional photographers took their pictures. After nearly 430 graduates received their diplomas, a flourish of mortar boards were tossed in the air, marking the end of the ceremony, and of their time at Serrano.
Non Traditional High Schools offer teens another path to Graduation
By Vicky Rinek
Graduation and awards night for the non-traditional high schools of Chaparral, Eagle Summit and Snowline Virtual was held Tuesday, May 31, 2017 at the Serrano Gym. The three schools graduated 104 students with an enthusiastic crowd of family and friends in attendance. Ceremony started with the singing of the National Anthem by Willie Jones, whose wonderful rendition heightened the emotions of the audience. Dave Smith, Principal of the Non-Traditional Schools, explained the difference between a traditional and a non-traditional school. Serrano High School is a traditional school offering education to all students with a general plan, where as a non traditional education is custom fit for each individual student to meet their unique educational and emotional needs and personalities. Some students don’t learn well in a traditional school setting or are dealing with life circumstances that make it difficult to do so. These students may need a different setting, a different pace or a different time to learn. Some students selected a non-traditional education to fit their demanding non-academic schedules. While a number of students were placed in the non-traditional school program for disciplinary reasons. They might have had their childhood punctuated by trauma, violence, neglect, or emotional and physical abandonment, often leaving them with failing grades, resulting in being classified as troublemakers, or disruptive students. The role of the educator, at a non-traditional school, is to break the cycle for the at-risk youth and remove the shame that is attached to them. Recognizing disruptive behavior, as a result of many factors, is not always the fault of the student, can help keep students from falling through the cracks, and dropping out of school. The outstanding programs offered at these non-traditional schools turned these students into success stories and future contributors to society. Chaylene Nickols, graduating senior of Chaparral, was the first student to speak to the class of 2017. In her speech Chaylene touched on her struggles to turn negative thoughts she had to positive achievements. “I chose to focus on my own negative thoughts that demanded me to be heard. This is what brought me to Chaparral and it was here that taught me to shut-up.” She added, “My whole message is to listen to who you are.” She went on to tell her classmates, “You all made it when every one was telling you (you) were a failure. And the loudest voice telling you – ‘you can’t do it’ was yourself.” She enthusiastically continued, “ Yes you did it, with a little help but mostly yourself.” Chaparral was her safe haven for the past two years and Chaylene concluded, “I’ll hold this place in my heart.” Scholarships were also awarded, given by the Pizza Factory, Kiwanis Club, Pinon Hills Chamber, Teachers Association and Teachers Credit Union. Honors were presented to Chaparral students Kieara Edler, Loura Alvarez, Leon, Kaitlyn Chavez, Jason Sabillion, and Jennifer Avila, and Snowline Virtual students Natalie Larson, Alyssa Fuller. Recognized for joining the military: Anastasia Guido-Bailey, serving in the US Air Force, Alyssa Rose Minor, serving in the US Navy, Honor awards were presented to: Alyssa Fuller with honors, Natalie Larson with honors, Kaitlynn Zumfelde, all from Snowline Virtual. From Chaparral, Senior of the Year Kaitlyn Chaves and Pride Award to Alexandrea Edwards. Gerardo Mata, Chaparral graduating senior, was the second student speaker addressing his classmates. Gerardo was expelled from Serrano and placed at Eagle Summit (for troubled students), and he talked about that expulsion being a blessing in disguise. With hard work and commitment he was accepted in Chaparral. “Today we show our friends and family that we are entering a new chapter in our lives.” Gerardo said, “I will work hard to achieve my goals.” he continued, “I will go above and beyond to impress my teacher rather than my friends.” He quoted, “Vin Scully the voice of Dodgers said, Good is not good when better is expected.” Both student speakers demonstrated their success at the non-traditional High School. Their personalities shined that night and inspired their classmates to take advantage of their struggles and conflicts, to make each battle a victorious story for themselves. Snowline School Board member, Steve Coulombe, addressed the seniors with a story about a donkey that fell into a well. One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over & help him. They all grabbed a dirt & began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey didn’t realized what was happening & cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off & take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off & take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well & happily trotted off! Always Remember in Life that: Life is going to throw dirt on you. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off & take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up, and by taking a step up. In this world people will always throw stones in the path of your success. It depends on you, what You make from them, A wall or A bridge! The evening closed with the traditional calling of each student’s name as they accepted their diplomas. Dave Smith stated, “ By the authority vested in me by the State of California and the Board of Education I certify that these young men and women have successfully completed their required education and now have graduated.” After which they moved their tassels from right to left with cheering from the audience.
Frontier Communications outage Customers without landline internet or phone connections
By Vicky Rinek
Hundreds in Phelan, Pinon Hills and Wrightwood were without phone and internet service on Monday, June 5, 2017. According to a customer service rep at Frontier Communications, more than 185 lines were out, affecting more than 850 customers. The 17-hour outage affected numerous landline and internet accounts including individuals, government offices, and business. Desert Community Bank could not accept electronic deposits; Snowline Schools had no communications or internet services. Pizza Factory could not take orders and a local pharmacy was unable to order medications. Frontier anticipated phone and internet service would be restored by 4:00 p.m. however, service was not restored until after 10 p.m. They would not confirm the cause of the interruption.
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