Chico Graduation 2018: Pollard, Blanks display super strengths

Published Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Haley Pollard and Jerod Blanks

Valedictorian Haley Pollard and Salutatorian Jerod Blanks. Messenger photo by Joe Duty, design by Joy Carrico

Chico High School valedictorian Haley Pollard and Jerod Blanks have gone to school together since, well, before they went to school together.

“We went to preschool in Dragonland, and I think we sat next to each other,” Blanks said.

Cover design by Pierre Moua

They’ve gone from sharing a daycare to sharing the stage at graduation as the top two graduates in the CHS Class of 2018.

The two also share favorite school subjects: math and science. So it’s no surprise they both plan to major in math- or science-related fields in college.

Pollard will attend Tarleton State University in Stephenville in the fall where she will pursue a degree in nursing. Her goal is to become a nurse anesthetist. She was inspired to take this career path during a trip to the dentist last year.

“I got my wisdom teeth out, and the lady was really nice, and I thought, ‘I’d kind of want to do that,'” she said.

Blanks plans on attending Texas A&M University in College Station, but he plans on waiting to move down until December. He plans to stay close and work this fall before he pursues a degree in mechanical engineering.

“I always wanted to go to Texas A&M, and engineering is kind of the big thing at A&M,” he said.

Both competed in athletics during high school. Pollard was in pole vaulting and powerlifting. Blanks was a member of the baseball, basketball and football teams all four years.

Pollard has also been involved in FFA and National Honor Society.

When asked about teachers that had made a big impact on their academic careers, both pointed to their coaches: Pollard chose Coach Tim Mynarcik while Blanks said Coach Brian McBeth.

“He taught me a lot – not just about baseball but about life. He’s been an awesome dude,” Blanks said of McBeth.

As they end their time at Chico High School, both offered advice for next year’s freshman class at CHS.

“Don’t over think it,” Pollard said.

“Don’t waste your days away,” Blanks said. “It seems like yesterday was the first day of freshman year, and now we’re days away from graduating and starting a new chapter. It’s just crazy.”

They’ll have great memories of their time spent in high school: Pollard in FFA events and Blanks in baseball.

“Mine is always going to stock shows and missing the most important lessons – always having to get caught up after being gone for a week at a stock show,” Pollard said.

“All of the players up until my junior year, we all played together since we were 5 years old. We made some pretty good memories, and we won’t ever get to play together again,” Blanks said.

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