Phoenix High 2016 grads: What helped them succeed?

By: Carol Percy, Reporter
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As part of their senior project, Phoenix High School seniors were asked to write a personal essay describing the challenges and opportunities they faced when completing the academic work necessary for graduation.

Twenty-eight continuation high school students graduated.

Each graduate read the essay at their graduation ceremony June 1 in the Lincoln High School Theater.

Following are excerpts from seven of those speeches.


Danny White: I never thought I’d get to this point and was giving up on the whole school thing and I didn’t see it at first but if it wasn’t for the motivation and push I got from the great teachers here at Phoenix, I would never have (graduated). 

I want to thank the teachers here at PHS:  Mrs. Gruber for never denying help even if I didn’t deserve it; Mr. Alcorn for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself; Mrs. Nelson for seeing the good in me when not a lot of others did; Mr. Nelson for the positive pressure which I have realized the good it brings; and finally I would like to thank Chuck Whitecotton for everything he has done for me and this school.  Without all of these people I never would have graduated.

Ashley Wilson: I was way behind getting the academic credits I needed and Phoenix High School became my life line.  From the start, it was Chuck Whitecotton who believed in me and helped me realize school could be comfortable and even fun. 

Bailey Pulsifer: So it seems that people have common misconceptions about Phoenix High School, saying, “Oh it’s a school where all the bad kids go” and “Phoenix is a continuation school so it’s not as good as a regular high school.”

I’m here to tell you that those statements are not true. 

Phoenix is an amazing school with plenty of cool and fun classes, activities and trips and I can say that I am very proud to be a Flyer.  The kids at this school are so unique and all have their own story and I think that’s where the school really gets its charm.  I had a blast going on the overnight backpacking trip with Mr. and Mrs. Nelson, and especially just hanging out at break listening to the school band shred in the quad.  It really is an amazing school and an even better experience attending here. 

Jake Davis: Upon coming to Phoenix, I found not another rigid school day which I had grown to feel so apathetic to, but the classes and lessons I encountered at Phoenix carried a relaxed sentiment through the independent work you were expected to do. Present as well was a staff who truly worked tirelessly for the sake of their small yet sturdy student body. By cooperating with teachers, tutors and the various other aides such as college presenters, military, and career education field trips, I was able to mold my character into someone with a solid direction in life who can operate with calm and composure.

Marco Gonzales: I learned at Phoenix that we are all individuals who are all somehow universally intertwined together.  I leaned to be happy on my own. And learned how to enjoy and have fun with life the way I envision it. 

Javi Alavarez: The most challenging and outstanding event at PHS was the first ever overnight hiking trip planned by Mr. Nelson. It was the most mentally and physically challenging event because it was the first time I had to push myself to climb rocks and walk up steep trails in order to get to our destination. It is even more memorable because the day we hiked out was my 18th birthday.

Molly Keenan Gomez: Other people is what actually motivated me to get to this point in my life; I’ve had so many people base my success on statistics.  Many said they would be surprised if I even get my high school diploma. 

So obviously for the people who know how I am, I had to prove them wrong and show not only them but myself that I have the potential to succeed in whatever I set my mind to.  So to all of my fellow classmates, family and friends, don’t let anyone’s opinion define who you are going to be in life because you are so much more than what they know.