Truckee, Tahoe seniors talk about their missing semester and what’s next | SierraSun.com
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Truckee, Tahoe seniors talk about their missing semester and what’s next

This week many of the Truckee-Tahoe area’s seniors will conclude years of work by accepting diplomas, tossing caps into the sky, and celebrating with loved ones.

Graduations at Truckee, North Tahoe, and Sierra high schools, however, will be markedly different than in years past as the 2020 class closes the year with virtual ceremonies and drive-thru graduations.

Though many of the final moments of high school like prom, spring sports, and a traditional graduation have been lost to the class of 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19, several of the area’s seniors shared memories of their time in high school and gave messages to fellow classmates on moving on.

Fernando (Chuy) Estrada

North Tahoe High School Associated Student Body president

Q: What departing message would you like to give fellow seniors?

A: To my fellow seniors, fellow men and women of inspiration and success, thank you all, for all you have taught me. Thank you for being the most diverse, influential and prestigious little family. It’s truly difficult to imagine the next chapter without all of you there. Regardless, you’ll be with me always. Stay groovy, guys. You all deserve THE WORLD. Congrats class of 2020!!

Q: What’s your fondest high school memory?

A: I made too many memories in high school that I adore with sentiment and tenderness. However, one memory that I will remember with passion is the first and only football game under a Friday’s night lights. I remember the bleachers being so full that people had to actually stand on the track lanes. I remember the blood, sweat and tears I left on the field that day. ’Til this day, I reminisce the seasons full of laughter, the victories and losses, my stinky teammates and amazing coaches who have helped shaped me into the person I am today.

Q: What event from the spring semester were you most disappointed about not being able to take part in?

A: I am super bummed out that our graduation ceremony could not go as planned. I feel like it was stolen from one of the most important memories in my life … All this effort, and amazing moments in high school, to not walk the stage? It should be impossible, but it is what it is. I really hope that we get to have our live graduation in August, because it means more than just the diploma and the stage. It signifies the end, and the beginning, and the accomplishments, and the long-lasting relationships with everyone I encountered in that building.

Q: What are your plans/goals after graduating?

A: I plan to attend UC Santa Cruz in the fall! I am super excited to become a Banana Slug who studies in the field of physical and biological sciences (human biology). I will become part of the Class of 2024. Honestly, I plan to go on new adventures and experiences and hope to learn and build more long-lasting relationships.

Megan Darzynkieweicz

Truckee High School valedictorian

Q: What departing message would you like to give fellow seniors?

A: Don’t give up. Don’t let what the world throws at you knock you down. You are capable of so much, so don’t let anyone or anything keep you from reaching your potential.

Q: What’s your fondest high school memory?

A: Getting up in front of the students at a football game and calling a cheer. Creating and being a part of Truckee High’s student section was the highlight of my high school experience and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Q: What event from the spring semester were you most disappointed about not being able to take part in?

A: I was really bummed that my senior musical got canceled. It was the first time I was going to perform on Truckee’s stage, and I’m super sad I won’t have the chance.

Q: What are your plans/goals after graduating?

A: I will be attending the University of California Berkeley and studying theater and political science.

Skyler Kawecki-Muonio

North Tahoe Associated Student Body vice president

Q: What departing message would you like to give fellow seniors?

A: To my fellow seniors, I would like to thank you for an incredible high school experience! I am grateful to have known all of you and thank you for your contribution to our Laker family. Our accomplishments at North Tahoe are a great reflection of how successful our class is going to be. Thank you for creating such a spirited, caring and accomplished North Tahoe Community.

Q: What’s your fondest high school memory?

A: My favorite memory at North Tahoe was winning our annual Halloween hallway decorating competition our junior year. The seniors were so determined to beat us, but we took the victory for the second time in a row. I still get chills remembering our hallway decoration and creepy performance, where we had trombones play “Ring Around the Rosie” and then had the entire class join in a chilling harmony.

Q: What event from the spring semester were you most disappointed about not being able to take part in?

A: The event I was most disappointed to miss was my tour for jazz band. During our tour for jazz band we choreograph moves with our instruments and perform for elementary schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and care facilities. We play for two days and also get to participate in fun activities. This year we were going to see “Hamilton!” It is so heartwarming to see people’s reaction when you play for them and it is so fun to hang out with all my band friends for the weekend!

Q: What are your plans/goals after graduating?

A: Next year I am planning to attend Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York. I will be studying pre-med and playing volleyball. Go Gryphons!

Kylee Beck

Truckee High School senior

Q: What departing message would you like to give fellow seniors?

A: A message I would like to give to my fellow seniors is although this is not how we expected our senior year to end, we made it. The class of 2020 will always be unforgettable because of all the hardworking, amazing kids it had in it. I would like to thank each and every one of you for all the memories, laughs, and friendships I built throughout my years at Truckee High School.

Q: What’s your fondest high school memory?

A: I would have to say my fondest high school memory was being a part of the girls’ varsity Truckee Soccer Team. I was able to make incredible friendships and learn the importance of teamwork throughout each of my four years on the team. I also helped bring home three state title victories for Truckee High School. It was an experience I will carry with me very close to my heart as I go through my next endeavors in life.

Q: What event from the spring semester were you most disappointed about not being able to take part in?

A: The event I am most sad I will not be able to take part in is graduation and our senior grad trip. I have dreamt about the day I would get to throw my cap in the air as a last hoorah, sitting in Surprise Stadium, amongst the kids I have known since elementary school. Hopefully, we will be able to take part in an in person ceremony on Aug. 1. I also want to shout out all the dedicated staff and parents working hard to make this happen for us, you guys are awesome!

Q: What are your plans/goals after graduating?

A: After graduating I will be attending the honors program at Chapman University in the fall of 2020 majoring in health sciences on the pre-med track. My future aspirations are to one day be a doctor so that I am able to help and care for people on a daily basis. I have wanted to be a doctor since the first grade so I am ecstatic that I will finally be able to start working towards that dream.

Eva Baffone

North Tahoe High School senior

Q: What departing message would you like to give fellow seniors?

A: To the class of 2020, we have all worked so hard to come to this moment. Our circumstances do not diminish our accomplishments and our hard work. This senior class will be able to move mountains because we have been through so much, that anything else that could possibly come our way will seem like nothing. Wherever you may go, never forget all you pushed through in 2020. 


Q: What’s your fondest high school memory?

A: Wow there are so many! My fondest high school memory, though, was going to New York with the band class my sophomore year. Great group of kids and an amazing teacher! Definitely an experience I’ll never forget!

Q: What event from the spring semester were you most disappointed about not being able to take part in?

a: I was most disappointed about prom. I was so excited because it was my senior year and I had a great dress and great friends to go with. It is sad because my parents had talked about their senior prom and this is just another thing I won’t be able to relate with them about.

I was also really sad about missing the spring concert for our band program. Every year Mr. Nordby makes it really special for seniors and we say goodbye to him and the program at this concert. We still did awards online, but it’s not the same.

Q: What are your plans / goals after graduating?

A: Next year I will be moving to San Diego and majoring in theater arts at Grossmont Community College. I hope in the future to further my music career. I love writing songs and creating music. I have already started on my music career in releasing an album called “Dreamland” on June 12. I hope to keep writing music and inspire others to follow their passions.

Graduation info

Several seniors from charter schools and college preparatory academies have already had their graduations. Students attending schools in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District began graduation ceremonies this week.

North Tahoe began festivities on Wednesday with virtual senior awards. The Lakers then had a drive-thru ceremony at the school on Thursday, followed by a virtual graduation later that afternoon.

Sierra High School will hold its virtual ceremony at 11 a.m. today.

Truckee High School will host its virtual ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Links to view graduation ceremonies can be found at http://www.ttusd.org.

The school district has also tentatively scheduled in-person ceremonies for August. Truckee seniors would have a more formal graduation on Aug. 1, Sierra High School seniors would be on Aug. 3, and North Tahoe would be Aug. 4.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.


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