Gabriela Gonzalez, 19, has worked at the Hagerman Valley Inn on Friday afternoons and weekends for the past three years. “Basically, it’s just one person working, and we’d do everything,” she said. Her favorite part of the job is meeting guests from all over the U.S. — even from Australia, Germany and China. Some of them come just once a year, but she usually remembers their names and faces.
Chance Bell, 17, was one grade letter away from being a fifth in the four-way tie for valedictorian. What made the difference: a “B” in an online German class during his junior year. The salutatorian imagines the class would have been easier in person, but he still hopes to use the language when he travels to Germany someday.
Maria Gomez, 18, (not pictured) worked at Gem Veterinary Clinic in Gooding for eight months, assisting with surgeries. One of the worst scenarios she had to witness: amputating the legs of a paralyzed dog. Gomez said it was a good, albeit nauseating, learning experience. She later adopted a pit bull named Honey from the clinic. She’ll take the dog to Twin Falls and attend the College of Southern Idaho this fall while living with her sister Alma.
Taylor Pearson, 18, lives with his high school principal, Mark Kress. The two aren’t related, but “I’d rather stay with the Kresses than with my grandparents,” Pearson said. He’d moved away from Hagerman for a couple of years with his parents. But Pearson missed the school and transferred back from Rimrock Jr./Sr. High two weeks before his junior year ended. Kress, his former Scoutmaster, is “a really direct person” inside and outside of school, Pearson said. He figures living with the principal has encouraged him to stay out of trouble.
Cole Kress, 18, says living with Taylor Pearson is kind of like having another brother — Kress’ older brother and sister have been out of the house awhile. But his pet peeve? Pearson is a big snacker and frequently spills candies and chips in and under the couch, Kress said. “He only eats junk food, but he’s so thin.”
Bryce Flammer, 18, got called into the principal’s office with Cole Kress — the principal’s son — during a physics class their junior year. The two were attempting to play chess in class. Flammer misses the chess club the school had when he was a freshman, but these days he’s more into playing “Magic: The Gathering” with a couple of his classmates.
Samantha McCrorey, 18, was surprised during a May 15 awards ceremony when she received a $3,000 Loren and Sylvia G. Wetzel Scholarship. “I applied for it, but I wasn’t expecting that much money,” she said. Those funds, plus a $1,000 alumni scholarship and a $1,500 two-year basketball scholarship, will help her when she attends Northwest College in Wyoming to play basketball. McCrorey has played since fourth grade but nearly quit her freshman year — until coach Katie Knight persuaded her otherwise. “I believed she could do it,” Knight said. “I wanted her to believe it, too.”
What did Cameron Locklar, 18, plan to do the day after her May 25 graduation? “I’m most likely to come back,” she said in mid-May. “I’m very attached.” Nongraduating students get out of school June 1. Locklar — who plans to study art education at Utah State University — imagined she’d go to her usual haunt, the art room, and say goodbye to her friends.