Star Graduates 2019 – Mission High School

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Here is the truth about second chances: They rarely happen by chance. It takes dedication, hard work and a desire to have something different. There is a quote that says, “And suddenly, you know that it’s time to start something new and trust the magic.” This quote couldn’t be more perfect than for Mission High School’s Star Graduate, Khara Greenwell.

Khara was the first student to enter Mission High School, a school that supports students who are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Despite her darkest days, Khara wanted to do something new and to learn how to “trust the magic.”

In May 2017, shortly after leaving rehab, Khara gave up her anonymity at the Clark County School District board meeting where they were voting on whether to approve funding for MHS or not. Khara wanted the school board and world to know that she wanted and needed something different.

She began her junior year with only 2.5 credits and thought that she would never graduate from high school. Today, Khara is graduating on time with an unweighted grade point average of 2.875, and is looking to join the military this fall!

It is with great honor and pride that Mission High School selects Ms. Khara Edie Greenwell as its Star Graduate.

Dream, sparkle, and shine, sweet girl!

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Star Graduates 2019 – CSN High School West

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Bridget Egan embodies all that is good about young people today: dedication, passion and a multitude of talents. As a result of her tenacity, she has developed very clear educational and vocational goals. In an effort to achieve these goals, Bridget has pursued a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. While being proactive to make her goals a reality, Bridget applied to and was accepted at the College of Southern Nevada High School West, a dual credit program. Upon successful completion of all her academic coursework, Bridget will have about 60 transferable college credits and currently garners a 4.625 grade point average.

Bridget is the picture of determination. Since being admitted to CSNHS West, she has purposefully and passionately used her talents both inside and outside the classroom for the betterment of our school. Bridget was the junior class president, and currently serves as the Student Body president. Bridget is not the natural extrovert that describes most Student Body presidents. Through hard work and determination, she has grown strong, confident and knows more about her intrinsic self than many adults.

Bridget dedicates a lot of her time to helping others outside the classroom. She founded a high school chapter of She’s the First, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting girls who will be the first in their families to graduate high school. For over two years, she has worked as a theater and vocal coach for Life Long Dreams, a nonprofit organization transforming disability into special ability through arts in Las Vegas. One of Bridget’s greatest strengths is her passion for helping others. With that passion, she is able to see a need and, in a systematic way, figure out how best to give support.

Bridget will continue her education at the University of California, San Diego in the fall.

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Star Graduates 2019 – CSN High School East

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McKenzie Carmichael is graduating from College of Southern Nevada High School East with 44 college credits and a perfect 4.0 college and high school grade point average. Her peers nominated McKenzie as the school’s Student of the Year, and one student stated how exceptional she is, because of both her intellect and her altruism.

Even though McKenzie lives with a life altering disease, she is unshakably optimistic. She takes handfuls of medications with side effects worse than the symptoms of her disease, yet she knows they keep her alive. Many would struggle with this, but not McKenzie.

She chooses to be positive, consistently keeps a smile on her face and joy in her heart, and while she spends much of her free time studying, she also finds time to bake. Not brownie-from-a-box baking–layered cakes, stuffed cupcakes and gooey, chocolate chip cookies baking! She makes sheet cakes for other students, and watches with delight while they all enjoy her masterpieces.

McKenzie’s goal of becoming a doctor is truly attainable. And we are sure she will give the best care to her patients. McKenzie has had major challenges and will have more, including medical school, but she prides herself in making it through the tough times. McKenzie believes it is possible for great outcomes to arise from the darkest of times.

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Star Graduates 2019 – Southwest CTA

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Gabriela Hernandez-Lugo was born in Cuba, and came to the United States at the age of five. Raised and educated in Las Vegas, the shy five-year-old was put into the first grade and was told to adapt to her new circumstances. By the third grade, she had learned to read, write and communicate in English.

Gabriela has come a long way, and is now the valedictorian of her graduating class, in addition to being the treasurer of Southwest Career and Technical Academy’s chapter of the National Honor Society. She has completed countless hours of community service, and hopes that one day she can educate others about the importance of diversity and the beauty of cultures.

Gabriela will attend the University of Aberdeen in Scotland this fall.

Star Graduates 2019 – Spring Valley High School

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Congratulations to Amber Chou, Spring Valley High School’s Star Graduate!

Amber Chou has earned straight A’s throughout high school, making her a valedictorian candidate. She has four years of perfect attendance, and has chosen to take all of the most challenging courses the school offers, earning top scores on her many AP exams.

Amber is a talented performer and gifted artist. Her participation in both Speech and Debate and Model United Nations are particularly noteworthy, as Amber has distinguished herself in these programs, both as an award-winning orator and accomplished delegate. She also completed a stellar AP Studio Art portfolio last year.

Among her many accolades, our staff, students and parents named Amber our 2017-18 Student of the Year. Additionally, she is a 2018 Harvard Prize Book recipient, and was recently confirmed as our school’s first National Merit Scholarship Finalist in over a decade.

Amber plans to pursue a career in the medical field, and will be attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall.

Amber’s strong personal and moral character, outstanding academic success, involvement in school activities and respect for teachers and administrators were just a few of the reasons this remarkable young woman was selected as Spring Valley High School’s Star Graduate.

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Clark High School Student Angela Hernandez Wins Car at “Drive for Excellence” Celebration

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Clark High School student Angela Hernandez, a graduating senior wins a Chevrolet Sonic, courtesy of Findlay Chevrolet, during the 13th annual “Drive for Excellence” celebration at Wet’n’ Wild Las Vegas on May 22, 2019.

More than 760 high school seniors, who qualified for the grand prize by maintaining a weighted grade point average of 3.7 or higher and an attendance record of zero unexcused or unverified absences. In addition to the new car, students also won scholarships, Chromebooks and a number of prizes donated by community partners.

The CCSD School-Community Partnership Program coordinated “Drive for Excellence” with the generous support of Findlay Chevrolet, Wet’n’ Wild Las Vegas, Silver State Schools Credit Union, Advertising and Marketing Solutions, Horace Mann Insurance Company and 98.5 KLUC Radio.

Star Graduates 2019 – Durango High School

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Durango High School is proud to recognize Damen Smith as its 2018-19 Star Graduate. The road has been long for Damen.

In middle school, Damen struggled with building positive relationships with his peers and with his teachers. As a freshman, Damen admits to getting caught up with older students who were not focused in the right direction. He was frequently in trouble and did not have a plan for his future.

Through some very tough years in high school, Damen’s mother pushed him to change his ways and be a positive example for his younger siblings. Damen is a self-proclaimed “mama’s boy,” and says there was always a little bit of light throughout his troubles because he did not want to disappoint his mother. He admits that the light was almost extinguished when he made some life choices that almost negatively affected his future.

Damen quickly turned his life around. He learned, in his senior year, that it was time to grow up. Damen said, “My household and the Durango environment was needed for me to be successful.”

He attributes his graduation from high school to his mom and the many people at Durango High School who never gave up on him. With the consistent encouragement of administrators, his counselor, his teachers, safe school professionals and secretaries, Damen saw a glimmer of light become brighter and he ran toward it.

Damen Smith will be the first in his family to graduate high school. He plans to enroll at the College of Southern Nevada this fall, and hopes to pursue a career as a firefighter. Damen will undoubtedly do great things in life, and the staff of Durango High School is excited for his future.

Congratulations, Damen. You are our Star Graduate!