The Student News Site of Bear River High School

The Current

The Current

The Current

From cruise ships to college, class of ’20 alum share their adventures

Bear River alumna Sonora Slater, a graduate of the Class of ’20, is hard at work on her laptop. Photo by Jamey Slater

After graduating amid a storm of uncertainties and change, Bear River’s class of ‘20 is finding success in a new phase of their lives.

Many have gone on to higher education or found a place elsewhere to learn and grow. Some alumni shared their experiences and plans since their departure from Bear River High School.

“After graduation I attended community college for two semesters of online classes,” Morgan Ham said. “But one thing the last year and a half has taught me is we will never know what is going to happen in the future, so I decided that I’d like to see as much of the world and experience as much as I can. So after finishing my second semester I decided to take a gap year to travel as things were opening back up. I can’t really explain how it happened but I found myself with the opportunity to work on board a cruise ship where they would pay all my travel and living expenses and at 19 that’s not an opportunity you can pass up. So for the past couple months I’ve been traveling around the country seeing new places and meeting new people. I started out on a ship on the Snake and Columbia rivers following the Lewis and Clark trail, and I am currently on board a ship going up and down the Maine coast and in the next few months I’ll be heading to New York and then Florida and South Carolina.”

“I’m going to Utah State University where I’m studying psychology,” said Class of ’20 alum Adam Merrill. “I plan to eventually move back to California and become a therapist after getting my doctorate in psychology. [My major] was physics then I was like, hmm, and changed it to psychology. But what I liked about psychology is that I would be able to directly help people.”

“I’m attending UC Davis and I am majoring in Managerial Economics, which is basically Davis’ version of a business major, but with more emphasis on leadership and general management,” Bruin alumna Sonora Slater said. “I’m planning to go into journalism as a career, but I chose ManEcon as my major for two reasons. First of all, there is no undergraduate journalism major at Davis, and looking at the actual course load of a lot of J-schools, I felt like many of the courses were focused on skills that I would rather learn through hands-on experience working as a reporter than in a classroom. Meanwhile, the courses that the ManEcon major offers are applicable to journalism as well. From a class I took that instructed us in Excel and Microsoft Access, to an Accounting class, to several data, statistics, and programming classes, while my major is not directly tied to developing my writing and reporting capabilities, it does allow me to gain practical skills that I believe will be especially useful as the field of journalism continues to change and adapt to the digital age. The second reason that I chose ManEcon as my major is because the major requirements almost entirely fulfill my General Education requirements, leaving more space than is typically available for me to enroll in various electives of choice, from “Writing and Illustrating a Children’s Book to convey a science topic” to “Intro to Archaeology,” to writing, graphic design and videography classes. I believe that as a journalist, truly anything I learn is useful, and so my major allows me to take advantage of the wide variety of niche topics uniquely available in college environments.”

“I am going to Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming,” said alumna Grace McDaniel. “I am majoring in math and computer science.”

Class of ’20 alum Connor Ronka said that he is studying International relations at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and went on to detail some possibilities for his future.

“Join the Foreign Service if I’m good enough, and start a family,” he said.

Ham shared some of what she has learned from her unexpected voyages.

“I’ve realized how different other places are,” she said. “For example, on the first boat I worked on, only one person knew what Dutch Bros was. I’ve also learned how small the world really is. On everyone’s name tag it says where we’re from and every week I’ve had a guest know exactly where Grass Valley is. One group I had on a boat in Maine comes up every year for the Fathers Day BlueGrass Music Festival. I feel like this is something I never would have done if the pandemic hadn’t happened. It’s never where I thought I would be and it’s definitely out of my comfort zone. Before May, the longest I’d been away from my family was 3 weeks. After this I am hoping to be a lot closer to marking all 50 states off my list.”

Slater’s plans for the future are loose but have a clear goal in mind.

“Basically all I know about my future is that I’m planning to do journalism in some capacity,” she said. “Journalism has always been a broad field, but with the rise of digital technologies it’s becoming ever broader. I would love to write for a newspaper, but I would also love to write for a magazine like National Geographic. I’m also totally open to trying podcasting, video, graphic design for social media, or anything else that comes my way, although those mediums definitely don’t come as easily to me as writing does. But in this year alone, I’ve ended up writing articles about lichen experts, working as a news anchor, writing a children’s book about dragons and geology, and creating stop motion videos that explain science concepts like genetics and forensics through the lens of film and television (Jurassic Park, Star Trek, Bones). None of these things are necessarily what I thought I would be doing when I was in high school deciding to do journalism, but all of them, in some way, fall under that category, and they were all super fun. So yeah — my plan for the future is journalism, and other than that, we’ll see where God takes me.”

Although these students have moved on from BruinNation, there are certain things that they miss from their time there.

“I miss hanging out with friends all the time,” said Ronka.

“I miss seeing my friends every day and getting to play sports,” said McDaniel.

“I’ve really loved college so far, and I’ve kept in touch with my close friends from high school, so I don’t feel like that connection is gone. However, I do miss the teachers at Bear River,” Slater said. “College professors are really cool, and most of them give out extensions on assignments way more than they probably should. But they also have hundreds, if not thousands of students, so the small-school connections of teachers to students at Bear River was super cool and I’ll always be grateful for the teachers I had there.”

Donate to The Current

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bear River High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Current

Activate Search
From cruise ships to college, class of ’20 alum share their adventures