79 seniors graduate from Jackson-MiltonPublished: 6/6/15 @ 12:05
By Sean Barron
The path in life Cheyenne N. LaRose plans to take likely will differ greatly from that of her twin sister, Samantha M. LaRose, but when it comes to what they think their late father would have felt to see them graduate, their beliefs are identical.
“My dad would be really proud of us, partly because he was never able to graduate,” Samantha said about her father, Russell LaRose. “He would be very proud that we have come this far and did not give up.”
The sisters’ ability to persevere in the face of tragedy and adversity played a big part in paving the way for them to don cap and gown to receive their diplomas during Friday’s Jackson-Milton High School Class of 2015 commencement at the school, 10748 Mahoning Ave.
They were among the 79 graduates who took home diplomas after the ceremony.
Samantha’s plans include studying accounting at Youngstown State University to become a certified public accountant. She also plans to stay in the Mahoning Valley, she said.
Samantha added that aspects of high-school life she likely will miss most will be interacting with many of her peers, as well as having been in Stephen Moore’s chemistry and biology classes and many fun times she had in Janet Yantes’ class.
“I love helping people. I love older people and feel they deserve the love they gave during their younger days,” said Cheyenne, referring to a primary reason she intends to pursue a career as a phlebotomist in a nursing home.
She already has taken courses in nurse’s-aide training, she noted.
Also proud of Cheyenne’s accomplishments was her fiance, Jason Smith, who has served two years in the Army and was home on leave.
Valedictorians Jamie Baker, Thomas Carnes, Kelly McCorkle, Ryan Moore, Abigail Morgan, Devin Seka, Mitchell Tikkanen and Jacqueline Vega touched on themes that included following one’s dreams and passions, occasionally sidelining immediate satisfaction for long-term success, thanking those who provided guidance and support, making a positive impact and using failure as a steppingstone to success.
“Never forget the will to win,” Baker said while reminding her fellow grads that basketball legend Michael Jordan failed numerous times before achieving success.
Offering additional advice was salutatorian Timothy Lucik, who encouraged the grads to find self-fulfillment and satisfaction, regardless of their choices in life.
“No matter what you choose to be, be happy,” he said. “Love your quirks, your own flaws.”
Making additional remarks were Superintendent Kirk Baker; Caleb S. Spalding, senior class president; and Principal David Vega, Jacqueline Vega’s father.
Dr. Jeffrey Tharp, board of education president, handed an Educator of the Year award to Yantes, who teaches math and English and is the senior class adviser. Also receiving the honor was Dianne Householder, an elementary-art teacher.
Performing the musical selections was the Jackson-Milton High band.