CRUHSD Academy graduates overcome obstacles

posted Jul 18, 2018, 10:26 AM by Evelyn Coker
  • RODD CAYTON, The Daily News
  • May 19, 2018
  • Troy Heaton
  • BULLHEAD CITY — CRUHSD Academy Principal Troy Heaton made his graduating seniors two promises Friday evening.
  • “Nothing you do now will change the past,” Heaton said at the school’s graduation ceremony. “Everything you do now will determine your future.”

    The 32 graduates all have the potential for greatness in them, said Sean Hammond, general manager at the Aquarius Casino Resort, and a 1985 Mohave High School graduate.

    He spoke during the ceremony of his own story, from his determination to leave town as soon as he could to his start as a beverage server to running one of Laughlin’s major casinos.

    Hammond said that one of the keys to his success was his willingness to try new things.

    “I predict that the coming days, weeks, months and years will be an amazing journey,” he said. “Great opportunities will come. Grab all of them that you can.”

    The five student speakers spoke of the difficulties they have conquered to get to graduation.

    Alec Anzalone recalled winning an award for a fifth-grade speech about reaching for the stars. He said he later lost sight of those stars and was headed down a path on which incarceration seemed more likely than being at the podium in the MHS auditorium.

    He said his road back was at first marked by procrastination and doubt.

    “But once I came to grips with the fact that it had to be done, I began to make progress,” he said.

    Heavenly Gonzales urged her classmates to thank those whose support and inspiration got them to their diplomas, and make dedication and sedulousness permanent habits.

    “A whole new life is about to start,” Gonzales said. “Whatever you decide to do, make sure you put your whole heart into it, because hard work always pays off.”

    Maria Mendoza and Ketzally Mojica Bustamante encouraged their classmates to turn “I wish” into “I will,” and to think of possibilities as probabilities.

    Riley Frei, superintendent of the Colorado River Union High School District, noted that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. He also noted that CRUHSD Academy was created in recognition of the different ways and rates at which students learn.

    Frei said that the graduates have shown they can deal with difficulties, such as missing substantial amounts of class time and getting off to a slow start in accumulating needed credits.

    “I wish each of you more obstacles and challenges,” he said, “because you guys are fierce.”

    Nicholas Knowles said after the ceremony that his two-plus years at the academy were sometimes hard, but that the teachers were very helpful, keeping him on track to graduate and eligible to play basketball for River Valley High School.

    “I’m very proud of him,” said Knowles’ mother, Rhonda Hartsfield. “He needed to recover credits and he worked hard to do it.”

    Knowles said his goal now is to earn an associate degree and eventually work as an air traffic controller.

    Gonzales said she plans to look for a job now. She said she hasn’t decided yet about higher education.

    “I’m excited for all the new adventures to come,” she said. “I’m ready to see what life has in store now.”