INDEPENDENCE DAY: SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIFORNIA

INDEPENDENCE DAY

This is the way the world ends--not with a bang but a high school diploma. If you went to South Tahoe High School, in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., you grew up in a place so beautiful, placid and secure that you can make the extraordinary statement of Cinnamon Roach, Class of '97: "I've never known conflict." It can't be easy to put a place like that behind you, but something tells you, "Go, girl."

As it turns out, you don't have to grow up in a postcard place these days to feel agreeable about the world as you find it. In...

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