DRHS Where Are They Now: Haley Clark
NAME – Haley Clark
GRAD YEAR – 2016
SPORTS PLAYED AT DRHS – Cheer And Lacrosse
FAVORITE DRHS TEACHERS – George Baker, Mr. Magrum, And Mr. Alian
Haley Clark is a terrific success story, but the story is a little different. Most high school students believe that in order to be a success, after high school, you have two paths to choose from: college or the military. Haley graduated from Damonte in 2016 and enrolled at Truckee Meadows Community College, planning on becoming a dental hygienist one day. But, as she began taking classes, in particular science classes required for a Bachelor of Science degree, Haley realized that she wasn’t enjoying the process. So, she changed the major to forensics, and the school to the University of Nevada, but something was still missing. She flirted with the idea of enrolling at Paul Mitchell, but a job offer changed everything.
There is nothing wrong with college, but there are plenty of other opportunities for a hard-working high school graduate, and Haley found one in wholesale mortgage services. Haley had worked for H & R Block, the tax preparation service, and a friend of her parents mentioned that he knew of an opening at a mortgage company. Haley interviewed and was hired on the spot, even though she knew very little about the mortgage processing industry. It has been a sharp learning curve for her, one she has navigated successfully. She says that she, “…learns two new things a day!” She admits she didn’t know what she was getting into, but that she loves it. The job provided Haley an opportunity to do something very few people her age are able to do: buy a house.
She bought her house in October of 2019. Since purchasing the home she has redone the floors, repainted the interior, and has plans for the landscaping. She has a roommate and says the whole process has gone really well. Her mortgage payment is less than what some friends pay for a one-bedroom apartment here in Northern Nevada.
I asked Haley what she could see herself doing in 20 years and after thinking about it for a few seconds she said, “I think I would like to own my own mortgage company.” She admits it was difficult to step away from the college life, and that people doubted her plan, but she never doubted herself for a moment. “I am happy with what I am doing and it doesn’t really matter what people think.” That’s very similar to the message she has for current Damonte Ranch student-athletes, “What you are doing now will not really be remembered after you graduate, but the type of person you are will be. Be nice to everyone. Stay away from drama and stay busy! Try different clubs and sports, keep yourself out of trouble.”
Haley was busy at Damonte with cheer and lacrosse, and her favorite Damonte memory came her freshman year. The football team went on a remarkable postseason run, playing for the Northern 4A title at Mackay Stadium, and for the playoffs the freshman and junior varsity teams were moved up to cheer for the playoffs. Haley remembers cheering on the field at Mackay stadium fondly, and that is her favorite Damonte memory. I asked Haley if she misses cheer, her response was, “No. I miss the excitement. I miss being close to the game. I am glad I cheered all four years. I had fun doing it then, but I am good being done.”
I applaud Haley. She has taken a road less travelled and been successful doing so. She has shown that there is another way to obtain success after high school graduation, a path that does not involve college or the military. Work hard, be loyal, and believe in yourself. I hope that Haley’s story serves a source of inspiration for current, and former, students and athletes.
The timing of this article is no accident. When I think of Haley I think of her varsity cheer years at Damonte Ranch. Damonte has one of the top cheer programs on the West Coast. They regularly win regional, and national, USA Cheer competitions. The NIAA does not sanction cheer competitions, so schools are forced to compete in outside organizations like USA Cheer. Damonte has been to nationals three years in a row: 5th place finish in 2017 and 1st place in 2018 and 2019. On Saturday, January 25th, Damonte will be hosting a regional competition, 10 AM – 2 PM. If you have never been to a cheer competition I encourage you to go and check it out!