Monday, June 1, 2020
Class of 2020 Given a Spotlight During the Pandemic
Jake Rushton would like to visit Antarctica but while in quarantine he’s been watching “Space Balls” and “Tiger King.”
Monday, May 4, 2020


The Class of 2020 may not get to walk across the stage for their diploma. And they may not get to participate in the annual ritual of a spring prom, unless they come up with a creative way of doing so while maintaining physical distancing amidst grab-and-go punch.

But they can rest assured that their inclusion in the COVID-19 graduating class will make their class one not to be forgotten for a long time.

And REMAX Sun Valley Broker and Owner Joanne Wetherell is putting an exclamation mark on that.

Natalie Christensen, who describes herself as “selfless,” wants to become a physician.

Wetherell recently started a new website she calls “The Faces of Sun Valley” to showcase interesting people in the Sun Valley community. And she started a special category titled “Seniors 2020” to recognize this year’s graduating seniors.

Among those already featured is Samantha Boyd, a Wood River High School senior. Those clicking on her portrait quickly learn that she wants to go to College of Southern Idaho to become a veterinarian for farm animals, that she loves Snow Bunny Drive-in, that the word “procrastination” bests describes her, that she would love to visit Ireland and that the first thing she wants to do when the quarantine is over is eat at a restaurant.

Tifanny Torelli, another WRHS student, wants to study arts and animation 3D in Europe given her Italian background. She recounts how she helped a “blind man” who was Sun Valley’s Santa Claus for many years across the street only to learn that he likes using a cane just to see how many people will offer to help. And she says that the word that best describes her is “lovely” as she loves everything that is created from nature to people.

Jake Rushton, of WRHS, wants to become the eighth member of his family to graduate from the University of Utah where he hopes to study finance. He describes how he loves the mountains and lakes of the Sawtooths and how he can’t wait to go to the gym when pandemic restrictions are relaxed.

DJ Gralenski, a high school hockey star, describes how he got to touch the Stanley Cup before touching became a no-no and lamented how his graduation gift of a trip to Hawaii is getting postponed.

And Emma Pulleiro has been binge watching “Criminal Minds” during the quarantine. But she can’t wait to have a voice lesson when it’s over as she dreams of singing Mimi in Puccini’s “La Boheme” at the Metropolitan Opera 10 years from now.

“Our mission is to tell the story of our community through the terrific people that live and work here, one voice and one face at a time,” said Wetherell. “We have added a special section for the Class of 2020 in order to recognize our community’s graduates who will not be able to celebrate their graduation in normal times.”

Seniors who would like to participate can go to and fill out a questionnaire. Wetherell and her team will post the answers on their website, along with a picture.

“Once we give the senior a link to their article, they can share it with whomever they choose, either on their social media or through a direct link to their featured article,” said Wetherell.

Those who would like to see the website can go to .


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