Placer’s senior prodigies share their talents


Story by Hanna Yazdi


Sometimes you hear one say, “I’m not good at anything,” when they’re asked about something they’re good at; which is typically followed with something along the lines of, “Everyone’s good at something!”

There’s an entire world of activities out there to learn and perfect, and usually when someone practices hard enough, it becomes a talent. Come to find, at Placer High School, there is an abundance of senior prodigies who have put in long hours to cultivate a special talent that they can use as they will.

Hidden in our student body are amazing artists, phenomenal writers, gifted athletes, incredible musicians, and so much more. They all worked hard to accomplish the skills they have today, all stemmed from a newfound interest or bustling dream.

Senior Ali Olender is one who has had a passion for what she loves, art, since she was very young.

“I have always had a desire to make art. Since I can remember, I was painting on the kitchen floor with finger paints and having a blast…All my life it has been a part of me, helping me through tough times and good times.”

Ali is one who has explored the entire realm of art, experimenting with an abundance of different mediums and styles.

Another world of talent that runs through Placer is musical talent. Many students in choir, band, or on their own, are extraordinarily proficient in the musical field. Clay Gardner, senior at Placer High and former school band member, is greatly gifted at using musical instruments. He is one who became inspired at a young age from his mother, and has carried on his love for music since. Clay has also ventured through different genres of music and found that he enjoyed many of them.

“When I was six, I got a coupon for piano lessons and I gave it to my mom, and we both thought this could be great, so we went to Keyboard Kollege, and for the next five to six years, I bounced around from a couple teachers learning the keyboard, and at that time I thought music is so amazing, so I kept up with the school band from EV Cain to Placer High up until recently.”

Clay has since continued to study music and has become proficient in the art, despite the fact that he, like many else, attempt to be humble.

“I’ve taken a couple classes from Sierra College recently and have continued my education in bass guitar and music theory on my own… I’m really more at an intermediate level, but I’m trying to learn more in order to keep advancing.”

Just as many talented teenagers, we all have to keep practicing; as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. And something many of us have to practice for school to get good grades is writing. Most students know those long, tireless hours spent writing that school paper that we dread so much, but believe it or not, writing can be fun (and hard, of course). Where do you think your favorite book came from? Or movie script, or song? Some prodigious person out there took the time to write that out simply because they enjoy it and are good at writing. Just like Placer senior Kate Riccardelli! She has always been a beautiful writer, who has spent years practicing and playing with different writing forms and has produced many lovely pieces. She uses her skill to shed light on our innermost feelings and expose the truth about the world around us.

“What really sparked my interest in writing was the power that it holds to make people feel strong and powerful emotions. If utilized properly, writing can be an incredible tool for getting the truth out about corruption in society.”

Kate, like many other students, uses the art form of writing as an escape and a way to expose the atrocity of the world.

These students and many others across the board have done an excellent job perfecting their talents, and hopefully will be able to show them off sooner or later, and the world will have one more professional singer, dancer, writer, artist, and more.