PCS graduates Class of 2021

PCS graduates Class of 2021
Posted on 06/23/2021
A June graduation ceremony celebrated the graduating Class of 2021. Congratulations!On the warm and breezy evening of June 5, friends and family gathered at Feather River College to celebrate the graduation of Plumas Charter School’s Class of 2021. A video of the ceremony is available on our YouTube channel; scroll down to view it on this page.

As PCS Executive Director Taletha Washburn pointed out, the ceremony marked “a return to almost normalcy for us all.” The outdoor event, which included distancing precautions, was the first large gathering hosted by the school since COVID restrictions began.

Washburn also acknowledged the fact that the charter school, which operates four learning centers in Plumas County, had remained open for in-person learning throughout the pandemic. “PCS made a tremendous decision and effort this year to keep our doors open to students,” she said. “Only 3% of schools in California were open consistently this school year to having students on site. I can’t thank the PCS staff enough for being student-centered, brave, and willing to make tough decisions in support of our students. I am so proud of us.”

A common theme in the tributes offered to the Class of 2021 was the resilience and determination that students displayed during these challenging and unprecedented times.

“This year in particular you have shown bravery, resilience, flexibility, adaptability, and follow-through. These attributes will serve you well as you embark on your new journey into a changing world,” said Washburn.

Two student speakers addressed their fellow seniors and audience of supporters. Kylie Anderson, from the Quincy Learning Center, shared PCS memories reaching all the way back to kindergarten, including different school locations and classroom activities.

She spoke about how the changes that came with the pandemic have made us all “mentally stronger and more determined.” With increased responsibility, “we have all had a new level of independence and accountability thrust upon us. Kind of a bumpy way to learn something extremely useful.” She said she hopes everyone retains the strengths and skills they gained during the pandemic when life returns to normal.

Madeline Goss, of Indian Valley Academy, spoke about PCS’s core values: respect, compassion, responsiveness, and accountability. She shared how IVA teachers and staff instill those values in students through activities such as community trash cleanups and shoveling snow for elderly neighbors. “It truly shows the compassion we have obtained from being part of this IVA family,” she said.

“What are your core values?” she asked her fellow students, and the audience. “What kind of person do you want to be?”

The evening’s keynote speaker was Dr. Lisa Kelly, who has held a variety of roles and positions in the community. She currently serves the Feather River Community College District as a K-14 career technical education pathway coordinator; her position is hosted by Plumas Charter School.

She addressed members of the Class of 2021 by encouraging them to create and maintain a “tool belt” of “skills, abilities, knowledge, and talent” to carry with them always. As she listed the tools she recommends, she explained their purpose and the wisdom behind their use.

Despite current ongoing challenges, Kelly pointed out, “it’s an incredibly exciting time where change is occurring on a global scale at an exponential rate, making the world a very small place.” What does that mean for graduates? “Your actions are very very relevant and you have great power to make positive impact by virtue of how you employ your tools, using them to drive forward your passions and convictions.”

The presentation of scholarships followed, with representatives of local organizations taking the stage to announce recipients. On behalf of those granting the scholarships, they expressed a desire to support the community by enabling graduates to attain the skills and education needed to achieve their goals.

The presenters encouraged other students to apply for local scholarships as well. “Please put in for this money,” said Mr. Barnes, of Indian Valley Pheasants Forever. “We want to use it.” (Scroll down on this page to find links to the local scholarships awarded during this event.)

Up next was the rose ceremony, in which each student handed out three roses to people in the audience who had been influential in getting them to where they are today. Musical accompaniment during the rose ceremony was provided by PCS ninth-grader Lilah Washburn on mandolin and PCS music teacher Greg Willis on guitar.

The presentation of diplomas followed. Each site director/coordinator — Keri Reed from the Chester Learning Center, Ryan Schramel from Indian Valley Academy, and Brittini Wade from the Quincy Learning Center — introduced the graduating seniors from that site. Joining Washburn in presenting diplomas was Steve Hill, longtime president of the PCS board of directors.

PCS teachers from all four learning centers (including the Greenville Learning Center, which serves students in kindergarten through sixth grade) lined up in front of the stage to congratulate graduates as they returned to their seats.

Class of 2021
The Class of 2021 includes students who had joined PCS at all stages in their educational journey: some had been with the school since kindergarten, some transferred in elementary or middle school, and some arrived only in the last year or even semester of high school.

“Each student graduating tonight has made a choice: a choice to engage in an alternative educational model that worked better for them,” said Washburn. PCS is a personalized learning school, which means students can pursue their education at their own pace, leaving time to pursue “personal interests, college classes, and employment,” she said. Several students did indeed leverage the opportunities for self-paced learning and concurrent college enrollment, graduating a semester or even a year early.

Ideas for the future range widely among the graduates, who variously plan to attend community college locally or elsewhere, pursue four-year degrees, enter or continue in the workforce, join the military, or even take a gap year volunteering. Fields of interest include music production, construction, nursing, education, emergency medical response, firefighting, massage, fitness, therapy, and animation.

PCS promotes a “culture of acceptance for a diverse community,” said Schramel. “One of the things I appreciate about Plumas Charter School is that we pull students from across the county. When you look at our graduating class you see students from all of our communities. … We are Plumas County. We recognize the value in each community and each person and we honor them.”

Core values
Before inviting graduates to turn their tassels and toss their caps, Schramel took a moment to review PCS’s mission and core values, and how they affect graduates moving forward. The school encourages the “development of compassionate, resilient, lifelong learners.” “Learn to live, live to learn,” said Schramel, “because once you stop learning, you stop living. And as you live, live with purpose. Have a set of values.”

He was echoing Washburn’s exhortation from the ceremony’s beginning: “Know who you are, have a vision for your life, and be true to yourself. Never underestimate yourself. … If you need help, ask for it. Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen. Graduates, continue to make Plumas County and yourself proud.”

In the photo: Plumas Charter School Executive Director Taletha Washburn congratulates Benjamin Cassol as PCS board president Steve Hill prepares to present his diploma. Photo by Ingrid Burke
The following scholarships were awarded to members of the PCS Class of 2021. Click the links to learn more, and encourage other students to apply!

Broc Cresta Memorial Scholarship
•    Adeline Tilton

California-Hawaii Elks Association
•    Madeline Goss

California High School Rodeo Association District 1
•    Adeline Tilton

Greenville Rotary Club
•    Madeline Goss
•    Adeline Tilton

Indian Valley Pheasants Forever
•    Ailish Carmichael
•    Adeline Tilton

Indian Valley Riding and Roping Club
•    Adeline Tilton

Indian Valley Thrift Shop Association
•    Kaytlyn Cedillos
•    Madeline Goss
•    Adeline Tilton

Plumas Association of Realtors Leonard H. A. Franz Scholarship
•    Madeline Goss

Plumas District Hospital Volunteers
•    Adeline Tilton

Plumas County Management Council
•    Adeline Tilton

Shasta Dam Kiwanis Club
•    Adeline Tilton

Sierra Pacific Foundation
•    Kaytlyn Cedillos

University of California at Davis academic scholarship
•    Madeline Goss

Upward Bound participants
•    Kylie Anderson
•    Nicholas Dunnington
•    Tyanna Farmer
•    Jacey Taylor

Click the image below to view/download a larger version of the program:
Graduation Program 2021-1.jpg
Graduation Program 2021-2.jpg

Watch the entire ceremony (one angle) or just the cap toss!