Pat, Personally

Monday, June 2, 2014

Superintendent salutes Class of 2014 graduates

This is my favorite time of the year.

To our graduating students — I know it has been a long road and it was tough to get across the finish line. You may have faced obstacles along the way, but you pushed through even when you felt like giving up. For that, you should be very proud.

To those who are almost there – don’t give up. We will work with you until you cross the finish line. I will be at the August graduation ceremony at The Smith Center to personally shake the hand of every senior who earns a diploma over the summer.

Over the coming weeks, I will attend 16 graduation ceremonies and speak at graduation ceremonies for Del Sol and Cheyenne High Schools. I can’t wait to honor these amazing students and hear more stories of triumph.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet some of our outstanding high school seniors honored at the William “Bill” Endow Scholarship Dinner. I want to tell you about two of them —Maylisa Souriyanyong of Silverado High School and Phalguni Vetrichelvan of Advanced Technologies Academy (A-Tech).

Maylisa was so shy when she started high school that even ordering food at a restaurant seemed impossible. Through extracurricular activities and community service, she eventually blossomed with bravery. She is president of the Key Club and part of many other organizations, including a local Laos and Thai dance team. With her team, she danced to raise money for the Laotian and Buddhist temples in Las Vegas.

Phalguni came from a culture where women’s rights are limited, but she was lucky to have a mother who instilled her with the value of education. Even though she was pressured to give up on school, Phalguni’s mother completed her Ph.D. When Phalguni and her family came to the United States, they literally had nothing, but Phalguni knew she had an opportunity to go to school not only for learning, but for self-discovery. She is an all-star student at A-Tech and hopes to one day become a diplomat, pursuing peaceful solutions to world problems.

I am so proud of these two women and to countless students graduating in June who set an example to stand up for their beliefs and do good things in the world. Thank you to all of the employees, parents and students who make these stories possible throughout the graduation season.

Congratulations, Class of 2014!