North Tahoe High School class of 2015 graduates 70 students (w/ photo gallery) | SierraSun.com
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North Tahoe High School class of 2015 graduates 70 students (w/ photo gallery)

Story & photos by Margaret Moran
mmoran@sierrasun.com

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — It’s the journey, not the destination that matters.

That was a common theme heard at North Tahoe High School’s graduation ceremony last Thursday, when 70 students collected their diploma under sunny skies at Laker Stadium before faculty, family and friends.

“The most significant successes in my life have not been a result of achieving major goals, but having been related to the unexpected hurdles in my attempt to achieve those goals,” said commencement speaker Jordan Basile, founder of TahoeMade Attire and a North Tahoe High alumni.

Basile told the crowd how he pursued his dream of becoming an Olympic freestyle skier after high school, but fell short of making the 2006 U.S. team.

While he was “bummed” he didn’t make the team, it ultimately lead him down a path where he established a successful clothing company.

“I’m here to tell you to follow your dream no matter how farfetched it may seem, but understand that it’s completely fine if things don’t go as planned,” he said. “One of my favorite mantras is a quote from Arthur Ashe; it goes: ‘Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.’”

Upon the end of Basile’s Olympic dream, he enrolled in Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo where he explored many majors ranging from kinesiology to wine-making before graduating with a Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration degree.

Afterward, he focused on producing a music festival at Lake Tahoe. All the while, clothing production served as a hobby — something that began while he was a junior at North Tahoe High by creating a T-shirt as part of rally squad uniform.

“I was doing it because I simply enjoyed it, and with that realization, I decided three years ago to pursue my passion, and the TahoeMade business became a reality,” Basile said. “What was a hobby for nearly a decade has now become my livelihood.

“Did I think I would be operating a clothing business when I was sitting here 10 years? Absolutely not. What I do know is that in pursuit of my ever changing dreams, I’ve been lead through a series of unexpected failures, successes, obstacles and detours that have all helped me realize what it is that I truly love to do.”

Yet, one cannot achieve success without a dream, added Johanna Gur, one of North Tahoe’s valedictorians and summa cum laude graduates.

“A big dream, a small dream, it doesn’t matter, this is where it starts,” she said during her speech. “You have to believe in your dream. It can be huge. It can feel just out of reach, but you have to believe in it.”

Echoing Basile, Gur said it is often through failure in pursuit of one’s dream that the greatest successes are found.

“Thankfully dreams change and grow as we do, so whatever your dream is right now, if you don’t achieve it, you haven’t failed, but just as importantly, if you do achieve it, you’re not done,” said fellow valedictorian Katherine Chador.


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