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2002 Graduate – Natasha Viljoen


Natasha ViljoenDiscovered in 1863, Silver Peak is one of the oldest mining areas in Nevada. A 10-stamp mill was built in 1865, and by 1867 a 20-stamp mill was built. Mining camp lawlessness prevailed during the late eighteen sixties, and over the next 38 years, Silver Peak had its ups and downs. In 1906, the Pittsburg Silver Peak Gold Mining Company bought a group of properties, constructed the Silver Peak Railroad and built a 100 stamp mill at nearby Blair the following year.

The town, at times, was one of the leading camps of Nevada, but by 1917 it had all but disappeared. The town burned in 1948 and little happened until the Foote Mineral Company began its extraction of Lithium from under the floor of Clayton Valley. Labor Day, September 4, 1939 few people remember that Max Baer fought Big Ed Murphy in Silver Peak. Murphy was a miner from Nivloc weighting 200 pounds, but Baer knocked him out in the first round. Baer fought from 1929 through 1941 and, yes, it was his son, Max Baer, Jr. who played Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies.

Citizens’ High School wants to introduce you to another hall of fame fighter, Ms. Natasha Viljoen. As you may have surmised, Natasha does indeed come from this small mining town, Silver Peak. Her battle was not with an individual but rather circumstances. Natasha was finding the two hour bus ride each to and from school a loosing battle. It took its toll in lost time, lost sleep, and lost productivity. So, Natasha traded that battle for one she could win. She chose to take on the Citizens’ High School curriculum to earn that coveted diploma. The fight was not an easy one, but a winnable one none the less. She completed two academic years worth of curriculum in 10 months time, all while maintaining a respectable grade point average.

We asked Natasha why she chose to finish her high school requirements with Citizens’. She explained that besides the two hour bus ride each way, home study was just a better choice for me. “I am so proud of myself, I never thought I could do this, but I kept pushing myself on until I did it.” Natasha completed her requirements and was awarded her diploma in July of 2001. We were also curious about her next challenge. “Now that I have my diploma, I also have new confidence in myself. I can overcome any challenge.”

Natasha is now a wife and a mother. She has a baby boy and a beautiful family. She is actively searching for grants and scholarships to pursue her next goal to become a paralegal. The fight and tenacity she showed in earning her diploma will serve her well in this quest too.

We are proud of Natasha for demonstrating how to be a fighter and a winner. We are confident that any opposition she meets in pursuit of her dreams and goals will be met with a TKO.

Ms. Natasha Viljoen is Citizens’ High School
“Graduate of the Month” for September 2002.