FORT MOHAVE — It took years of teamwork to get River Valley High School’s graduating seniors out into the world.
That’s according to members of the Class of 2017 speaking at Saturday’s graduation ceremony.
Each spoke of family, friends and RVHS faculty and staff vital to the completion of this stage of his or her educational journey.
And of course, classmates.
“We’ve all grown up together,” said Kaylee Long, who recited the class history. “I wouldn’t want to graduate with anybody else.”
Genavieve Gray-Sandoval, in her staff recognition address, estimated that teachers have spent 2,340 days with class members since they entered kindergarten.
“It takes big hearts to shape minds,” Gray-Sandoval said. “Our teachers are underpaid and overworked, but their effort has not gone unnoticed.”
Salutatorian Regan Glenn talked about the struggles class members have faced and overcome over the past 18 years.
“Each obstacle we faced, we faced for a reason,” she said. “To learn how strong we are; to learn how capable we are.”
Glenn also had a message for her parents, who were among the crowd that nearly filled the Mojave Crossing Event Center.
“Mom and dad,” she said, “thank you for not only believing in me, but for making me believe in myself.”
Valedictorians Kaitlyn King, Jessica Molles and Rosa Medina also expressed gratitude for those who helped them make it thus far.
Molles said her experience at River Valley has inspired her to want to become an educator.
Several student speakers fought tears as they shared their thanks; few were able to hold them back.
Class President Nicholas Achor’s closing speech included a tribute to his parents.
“You are who I will forever owe my success to,” he said.
Ivy Calingasan, reading the faculty letter, talked about what makes River Valley special.
“We are more than just a community of teaching and learning,” she said. “We are a family, and forever we will be.”
Calingasan said the employees wanted to prepare each student for a life outside her comfort zone. Then, perhaps leaving her own, she broke into an a cappella song. The students quickly picked it up, singing and clapping along.
Supt. Riley Frei of the Colorado River Union High School District said that the event not only marked a triumph for the Class of 2017 and for RVHS, but also for the elementary schools that prepared them.
“Thank you for contributing to our community,” Frei said. “We look forward to seeing you achieve greatly as you move forward.”
Cinnamin McDonald said after the ceremony that she’s glad she attended River Valley.
“They offer great programs,” McDonald said. “Students just have to step through doors and ask questions.”
McDonald ships out July 4 as a Navy corpsman.
Cassidy Fohs shared the day with her siblings, Bryson and Rylie.
The triplets’ mother, Gidget Fohs, described sharing a home with three high-school seniors as a very busy place.
“A lot of fun, a lot of laughter and a little fighting,” Gidget Fohs said.
She said the three worked on encouraging one another to strive for success.
Cassidy Fohs said that she never had to face a new school alone, because she always had a “built-in friend.”
The National Honor Society president is thinking about becoming a teacher.
Principal Dorn Wilcox said that the class was strong academically and in athletics.
The class’ top 10 students were all female, he said.
“But the boys worked hard as well,” Wilcox said. (The class) accomplished the goals they set out four years ago, and they completed them with grace and style.”
King had earlier remarked on how graduation seemed to come out of nowhere.
“I don’t think any of us knew that this moment ... was gonna come so quick,” she said.
King used the brick wall as a metaphor, for both what the students have been through and what they will face in the future.
“Congratulations, Class of 2017,” she said. “Go on to conquer more brick walls.”