Deer Valley High graduates one of its smartest classes

Valedictorian Henry Rausch, left and other Deer Valley High Class of 2017 grads celebrate and get hyped during the ceremony on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Photos by Luke Johnson

DVHS alum and Vice Principal Blair Wilkins addresses the graduates.

By Luke Johnson

An unlikely dream came true for a Deer Valley High School alumnus.

Blair Wilkins – who ranked No. 317 out of 400 students in DVHS’s first graduating class in 1999 – spoke during the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2017 as the school’s vice principal.

“For me graduating 18 years ago – half my life ago – it’s been very surreal for me to come back and it’s been a great pleasure to serve as a vice principal,” Wilkins said.

Approximately 475 diploma recipients filed in on the campus’s football field Thursday, June 8, on an unusually cloudy evening for this time of year with an estimated 3,000 loved ones in the stands.

A grad cheers on one of his peers.

Wilkins said this was one of the school’s most successful years academically with nearly one-fourth of graduates finishing with a 3.5 GPA or higher.

“We have had a lot of growth with our students – most recently being recognized as a California Honor Roll School,” Wilkins said. “Which to me is a great honor and really shows how great of a school community we have.”

Every year students and administrators agree that DVHS has an unfair negative reputation. However, Valedictorian Henry Rausch believes the school took a step forward this year in progressing public opinion.

A grad celebrates as she receives her diploma.

“From the inside, we don’t have a bad reputation. We all like the school,” Rausch said. “It’s just a small fraction of the school that’s making trouble and giving us bad press, and from the inside we don’t see any of that.”

Before the event began, everyone in attendance had a moment of silence to pay tribute to Reggina Jefferies, who was on pace to graduate that day but tragically passed away in a mass shooting in Oakland last summer.

 

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Grad celebrates as she receiving her diploma


_Grad cheers


_Grads celebrating and getting hyped during the ceremony


_Blair Wilkins at podium


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