Skyline students cross the stage

By Cali O'Hare, managing editor,
Posted 6/1/23

Liam O’Connor is the Valedictorian and Jessi Nichelson is the Salutatorian of Skyline Academy’s Class of 2023.

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Skyline students cross the stage


PINEDALE — Skyline Academy held its graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 25, in the Sheppard Auditorium. Twenty students earned their high school diplomas and crossed the stage, officially entering exciting new chapters in their lives.

Liam O’Connor is the Valedictorian and Jessi Nichelson is the Salutatorian of Skyline Academy’s Class of 2023.

Jobanny Mendoza kicked off last week’s ceremony with a performance of the National Anthem on the saxophone.

Outgoing Skyline Academy English teacher Jono Majhanovich gave the keynote speech for the ceremony, sharing that “a small town like Pinedale is incalculably lucky to have a school like Skyline — particularly one that has the quality of teachers, staff and administrators as it is ever so fortunate to have.”

Majhanovich offered “two shiny pieces of advice” to the graduating seniors. The first came from David Brooks’ essay “The Moral Bucket List.”

“You need to know the difference between two types of virtues. … On one hand there are resume virtues, the skills you bring to the marketplace … and these are important, you need them. … But there’s another set of virtues that aren’t linked to success in your career but rather the true success of your life. … These are called the eulogy virtues. … These are all the things big and small that you do to assemble meaning into a life well-lived. Because when you’re getting on all these virtues are the ones that will still be radiating in the world and bouncing around from human to human because of you.”

The second piece of advice Majhanovich offered related to keeping the truth at the forefront of daily consciousness and came from David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water.”

“Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need even more power over others to number you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.”

“But the insidious thing about these forms of worship,” Majhanovich continued, quoting Wallace, “is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They’re the kind of worship you gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that’s what you’re doing.”

Majhanovich urged the graduates to be mindful of the thoughts and judgments that seep into their consciousness second by second as they settle into adulthood.

“You’ve all put in a lot of work and overcome some serious challenges to stand here tonight and you should be proud of that. No one can take that away from you,” Majahnovich said in closing.

The keynote speech was followed by a slideshow of photos from when the seniors were toddlers and infants and garnered much applause from the audience.

O’Connor, who is going into the United States Marine Corps, gave the Valedictorian address, reminding his peers that they have “the power to make a difference.”

“Success is not defined by the grades received, honors earned or even a slip of paper. It is defined by the impact we make on others, the relationships we build and the legacy we leave behind,” O’Connor emphasized.

Principal Kellie Jo Williams presented the graduates and Salutatorian Nichelson led the Class of 2023 in the turning of the tassels.