Seniors awarded $3.1 million in scholarships


As the end of the school year approaches, so does the long-awaited graduation ceremony — the culmination of success for this year’s seniors. This year, Spring Valley High School is expected to have its highest graduation rate in school history —  85 percent.. Perhaps even more impressively, this year’s seniors have been awarded more than $3,125,000 in scholarship money, which is higher than the past three years.

According to senior Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher Angelica Strong, the increase in scholarship money and graduation rate is due to more seniors enrolled in AVID than ever.

“Through the increase in AVID senior enrollment, our scholarships and graduation rates have gone up,” said Strong.

The scholarships awarded allow students to attend a wide variety of colleges. Outside of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of Nevada, Reno, many SV seniors have committed to out-of-state universities including the University of Arizona, Southern Utah University, and, Arizona State University.

“Everybody should look at themselves and be proud,”  said Senior Class Advisor Ms. Deborah Whitt. “AVID is a validation of who we are and what we do.”

This year, SV students have been accepted into more than 56 unique colleges and universities. Along with college admissions, come many big scholarships including $184,200 to American University in Washington DC, $124,276 to Tuskegee University, and a $104,000 scholarship to Albright College. However, there have been several students with scholarships exceeding $60,000.

“Our school is beginning to look a lot better than what is was in previous years,” Marilee Botus, college and career counselor for SVHS commented on this year’s progress. Some seniors in particular have gotten multiple scholarships.

The percent of seniors on track to graduate is also ahead of what it was last year at this time, largely due to more participation in APEX, the online credit retreival program. Last year, only 770 APEX courses were completed, compared to over 850 currently this year.

With Principal Tam Larnerd more motivated than ever, he is pushing students and staff to do their best to reach graduation, what he calls “the north star.”

“I know we are definitely on track of accomplishing our goal for this school year,” Mr. Larnerd said. “We are absolutely on an upward trajectory.”

Aside from accomplishing the highest graduation rate in school history, many students have achieved their own goals in their last year of high school.

Senior Katherine Reed, was one of those students. Reed has been accepted into 10 colleges including Oregon State University, the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Renseelaer Polytechnic Institute and Virginia State. With a weighted GPA of 4.55,

After graduation, she plans on attending Rensselear Polytechnic Institute with her $40,000 a year scholarship to major in nuclear engineering. She credits her success to the extracurricular activities she is involved in. “I would not be inspired to achieve all of this without the activities I am involved in,” Kat Reed said, crediting Model United Nations, National Honors Society, and AVID for her success.

Outside of academics, many SV students have been recognized with athletic  scholarships and awards. Michaela Hood, Raven Bierlien, and Sahana Bojorquez were among many who committed to playing college sports on a scholarship.

“Spring Valley is booming with exposure of talent,” said Athletic Director William Hemberger. “I’m really excited to be part of it here at Spring Valley.”

Athletes Kayla Harris (basketball), Essence Booker (basketball), Christopher Zimmerman (tennis) and Samantha Meyers  (soccer) were nominated for the Las Vegas Review-Journal Best of Nevada Preps award. Madison Macove was nominated as citizen of the year by the Las Vegas Sun.

Baseball player Nick Rupp was also nominated as a finalist for Gatorade Player of the Year — a first for a Spring Valley athlete.