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October 24, 2014

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Senior send-offs: Local high school grads talk growing up

More than 14,000 Clark County high school seniors are graduating this year in the class of 2014.

Some graduates plan to go to college or trade school after turning their tassels and receiving their diplomas. Others are hoping to join the military or get new jobs. Many want to travel the world.

We spoke with eight seniors from Shadow Ridge High School on their graduation day about growing up in Las Vegas and their future plans.

    • Shelby Wilder, 18



      What does graduation mean to you? It’s basically the start of being an adult.

      What was the toughest part about getting to graduation? Certain people were skeptical I could graduate. They thought I didn’t care about school, but I proved them wrong.

      What was the best part about school? My friends.

      What are your plans after high school? I want to work and then go to culinary school. I want to open up my own pastry shop.

      What was it like growing up in Las Vegas? It’s like growing up anywhere else. It’s not like anything you see on TV.

      Do you plan to stay in Nevada? Yes. I’m just familiar with it and I don’t have a problem living here.

    • Kaleb Zelez, 18



      What does graduation mean to you? Finally finishing 12 years of schooling and moving on to bigger and better things.

      What was the toughest part about getting to graduation? Math. Too many numbers and letters.

      What was the best part about school? Meeting new people and becoming friends with them.

      What are your plans after high school? I’m planning to enlist in the Air Force. I want to become a military police officer and serve my country.

      What was it like growing up in Las Vegas? I’ve been here 13 years. The weather throws you off.

      Do you plan to stay in Nevada? Nope, anywhere but here. I want to see new things, travel the world and meet new people.

    • Billie Yanish, 17



      What does graduation mean to you? It means that I’m done with the regular public school system.

      What was the toughest part about getting to graduation? All the work that you need to do. It was really stressful.

      What was the best part about school? Definitely marching band. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of friends. It gave me something else to focus on besides school.

      What are your plans after high school? I’m going to UNLV to study electrical engineering.

      What was it like growing up in Las Vegas? I’ve been here for seven years. It’s neat. It’s nothing like anywhere else with all of the rides and entertainment.

      Do you plan to stay in Nevada? I don’t think so. It’s too hot for me, personally. I want to travel and build stuff. I’m hoping to get a job in Germany.

    • Keyshawn Gammage, 17



      What does graduation mean to you? It means a lot. It’s the start of a new chapter in life. I can’t wait to see the what the real world is like.

      What was the toughest part about getting to graduation? The proficiency exams. The science one was tough.

      What was the best part about school? Seeing all my friends and playing football.

      What are your plans after high school? I’m going to UNR, majoring in engineering. I want to work for Southwest Gas as an engineer someday.

      What was it like growing up in Las Vegas? I’ve been here my whole life. It’s fine. You just can’t do anything as a kid.

      Do you plan to stay in Nevada? I hope to stay here. My family is here and I want to stay close to them.

    • Erin Cruz, 18



      What does graduation mean to you? It’s the time I take the life lessons I’ve learned and apply them to my career and the real world.

      What was the toughest part about getting to graduation? Freshman year was hard for me socially, so I transferred to an online school during my sophomore year. When I came back to regular school, I had to work harder because I had to retake some classes.

      What was the best part about school? My friends and my teachers were great. I had a lot of great teachers who really engaged with students during discussions.

      What are your plans after high school? I’d like to go to CSN and then transfer to Brigham Young University, Idaho for a degree in English. Maybe I’ll go into journalism.

      What was it like growing up in Las Vegas? I’ve spent almost my whole life here. It’s pretty good. At times it could be scary, but I felt pretty safe.

      Do you plan to stay in Nevada? For a little bit, but I want to move to Idaho. I was there for three years and I liked it there, especially the greenery and the country.

    • Michelle Zhen, 18



      What does graduation mean to you? The fruits of all the hard work and the stress and staying up past midnight doing homework.

      What was the toughest part about getting to graduation? Time management. I wanted to do all the school clubs and ROTC.

      What was the best part about school? Meeting new friends. I’m sure the friends I’ve met in high school, I’ll have for life.

      What are your plans after high school? I’m going to the Naval Academy to become an officer. I hope to become an engineer and help the president.

      What was it like growing up in Las Vegas? I’ve lived here for 12 years. It was filled with a lot of entertainment. North Las Vegas is kind of isolated from that, though.

      Do you plan to stay in Nevada? No, I hope to travel around the world.

    • Dallin Gibson, 18



      What does graduation mean to you? The start of a new beginning.

      What was the toughest part about getting to graduation? Getting up at 5 a.m. to get to school on time at 7 a.m. I’m not a morning person at all.

      What was the best part about school? My friends and playing volleyball.

      What are your plans after high school? I’m going to Mexico for my church mission. Then I’m going to take over my dad’s contracting business.

      What was it like growing up in Las Vegas? I’ve been here my whole life. It’s just hot.

      Do you plan to stay in Nevada? I hope so. I like the city. It’s right in the middle of everything.

    • Kaci Eliason, 18



      What does graduation mean to you? It means I’m done with high school. That’s it.

      What was the toughest part about getting to graduation? I was the student body president, so trying to get students motivated was challenging. You don’t get to be in high school again. It’s not something you can experience again, so you want it to be enjoyable.

      What was the best part about school? Being involved in student council and clubs. Spirit days and spirit week.

      What are your plans after high school? I’m going to Snow College in Utah. I want to become an elementary music teacher.

      What was it like growing up in Las Vegas? I’ve been here my whole life, born and raised. It was hot.

      Do you plan to stay in Nevada? Yeah. It’s just a good environment. There’s always something to do in Vegas.

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