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Front Page » June 1, 2004 » Local News » Graduation 2004
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Graduation 2004

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Green River High and Emery High celebrate with commencement exercises

Emotions run deep at the Emery High graduation.

Emery High held its commencement exercises on May 25 in the Spartan Center. Whitney Fauver, senior class president, welcomed graduates, family and friends to the ceremony. She said the graduating class has achieved many things over the years. They donated more than $4,000 to worthy causes with fund raisers in which they were involved. "We have had good times, tragedies and we've done it all as friends." She acknowledged the contributions of family, friends and teachers in where the students are now in life. "We have a power greater than the opposition, we are good, strong and hardy; with Emery County roots. We have good memories to cherish," said Fauver.

Two teacher of the year awards were presented to Duane Merrell and Valene Wakefield. They each received a quilt made by the student council.

Lindsay Huntsman, Salutatorian, expressed gratitude to each of the seniors for their support. She said as they increase potential that their capacity and abilities will increase and a transformation will take place. Huntsman said when you give to others you will get back in return. "Serving is a privilege," said Huntsman. Huntsman quoted Robert Kennedy who said, "If not us, who? If not now, when? Huntsman encouraged the seniors to increase their circle of giving and make a difference in the world. "Give of your time, talents, and efforts. The torch has been passed to a new generation to carry forth, may the eternal flame of service burn brightly." Huntsman said the world is in need of those who will take action and are willing to sacrifice. She concluded by saying it was her hope that the class of 2004 found themselves by giving to others.

J.D. Jensen, honor student, said the seniors are living the American dream and they are hard working kids who are determined to strive for the very best. They have completed one of their first major goals by finishing high school. They have worked for this day since the first grade. He said plans have changed over the years and goals. Jensen said he once wanted to be a veterinarian, but now wants to be a doctor. He said he has worked hard and is determined. He has had much help along the way, teachers like Neal Peacock who puts in countless hours with the student council and the sterling scholars. Jensen encouraged the seniors to climb the ladder one step at a time and don't give up. "You have to work to succeed, push for the best. Dare to dream," said Jensen.

Tyrell Jewkes, honor student, encouraged the seniors to maintain their integrity. He likened integrity to a muscle that needs to be used to grow. Jewkes said Mitt Romney is his hero because he has integrity. He spotlighted and helped to make the Olympics a quality event and refused a paycheck. Romney donated his own money to the cause. Romney also apologized for the previous problems the Olympics had which didn't have anything to do with him. In doing this, he showed his integrity. Another hero Jewkes mentioned was Coach Jones from the movie Radio. He helped a boy with learning disabilities by involving him with the football team and at the school. Jewkes said, "It shows your integrity even when you do the right thing, even when there isn't anyone there to see it. We are leaders whether we like it or not."

Nicole Sanders, honor student, said the students can't travel alone, but need the help of each other. "We can't walk that road alone," said Sanders. She said she is grateful for those who have shined their love on an independent heart. It is not a weakness to let someone else be strong. Sanders described friendships that have lasted from grade school through junior high and high school. She said to make a decision to be a friend to all. She said with love and sympathy we can influence and inspire. "As we walk together the hills are less steep and the roads less bumpy. We can't walk this road alone," said Sanders.

Bowie Jeffs, honor student, said that each of us are in charge of how we react to situations and have the power to choose what our attitude will be. He described a situation where two shoe salesmen had been sent to a tropical island. One salesman called back and said no one wears shoes here, there isn't any opportunity. The other salesmen called back and said the potential for sales here are astronomical; no one has any shoes here. That is the power of positive thinking. Jeffs said in his junior year at the beginning of the basketball season they were faced with two games with championship teams. Some people viewed the situation as two losses but the team saw it as an opportunity to make a statement and won those two games and went on to a 14 game winning streak. "Dream big and see your dreams through," said Jeffs.

Chandler Tanner, Valedictorian, wished his Mom a Happy Birthday and said she has been his greatest supporter. "Life is a journey, not a destination," said Tanner. He encouraged everyone to be cheerful as they go about their day to day living. He encouraged the seniors to dance like no one was watching, sing like no one is listening and work like you don't need the money. "Most people are miserable, risk being happy," said Tanner, "be willing to sacrifice." Tanner told the story of a young boy who went into a restaurant with only 50 cents. He asked the waitress how much a sundae would cost and she replied 50 cents. He again asked to her annoyance how much just plain ice cream would cost and she said 35 cents. He smiled and said he would take the plain ice cream. After he departed she found a 15 cent tip by his empty dish. He sacrificed so she could have a tip. Be thoughtful of others and each day will be more meaningful. Tanner explained that life is full of troubles and rough times, but how you take it is what counts. "It's not a disgrace to fall down, but come up with a smiling face, to lay there is a disgrace," said Tanner. He said that living is the purpose of life and how you travel your chosen road that makes the difference.

Principal Gwen Callahan presented the seniors to the school board for graduation. Laurel Johansen, school board president, presented the seniors with their diplomas. The senior class sang the school song, "The Halls of Emery," to close the ceremony.

Jerome Burns leads the graduates in moving their tassels.

Eleven seniors at Green River High School graduated on May 28. Rebekah Thornton welcomed school board members, parents, staff and guests to the event. Thornton began by explaining that for Christmas, the student council decided on a UFO theme. The school's Christmas tree was completely covered with aluminum foil. She explained that Jerome Burns, a fellow graduate, has been driving around with the foil in his trunk for the past five months. So, she made a presentation of the aluminum foil ball to the schools principal, Nolan Johnson.

Jessica Jenkins was the first to speak. She is a teacher at the school. She began with a special memory of each graduating student. Of Tyrell Black she said, "Who knew he had a split personality. He can do any dialect that is needed for any school play." Jenkins next spoke of Allen Burns, "He is the builder. When we were deciding on the set for the King and I, he was there every day willing and eager to begin the building of the set."

Jenkins said her memories of Garion Ford were from homecoming. "He is the most determined. At homecoming, he was determined to win, and not let his little brother get the best of him."

Dawna Maldonado was the next student Jenkins

spoke about. "She is a beautiful lady with tons of personality."

The next graduate to be honored was Charla McCune. "She was our ray of sunshine for the year." Jenkins went on to speak of Lance Richards. "He was our quiet strength."

"Jared Johnson had the smile with a glint of mischief. You never quite knew what was going to happen with him," Jenkins said. "Tessina Trejo is our great example of perseverance."

"Rebekah Thornton is definitely the character of the group," said Jenkins.

"Rachel Dunham is gracious, caring, talented, beautiful and intelligent," Jenkins stated. "And Jerome Burns, talk about dedication. When it came to playing the king in The King and I, off came the hair, with no question."

Jenkins then welcomed the graduates to Miss J's reality show. She handed each student a kit that included the items needed to make it in the real world. The kit contained a treasure (candy) for the treasure they would need. Also, Smarties for what they would learn, nuts for the nutty people they would meet, and a worm (also candy) to show that you cannot worm your way out of tight situations in the real world.

The kit also contained three lifelines, the first being family. Without family support, life could be tough, so count on your family. A whistle was next. This represented the phone a friend or family member for support. The third and most important lifeline in the kits was "You." Jenkins told the students to have faith in yourself and you can do anything. "It' not easy to win, but perseverance will see you through. In drama terms, go out there and break a leg," Jenkins added.

Shellie Anderson spoke to the graduates. She said "I feel very privileged to be asked to speak tonight. All these individuals you see behind me are individual thinkers and they think outside the box. Whatever the project and no matter how many ideas were on the table, they always pulled together and took the best idea to succeed."

"Be the best at whatever you are. I will miss you and I wish you the very best," Anderson said.

Salutatorian Jerome Burns, began by explaining that he had always thought those people who said "Where has all the time gone?" were misguided. Then he added, "Where Has all the time gone?"

Burns went on to say, "The past four years here at Green River High have been the most influential in my life. It is very challenging to say good-bye and leave this place and the people in it. We must go or be left behind,"

Rachel Dunham, Class Valedictorian, said, "The 11 of us have been traveling the same road for the past 12 years, and now we are parting and going as many different directions. Change does not have to be feared, we should fear not changing."

"When I lived in Nepal, an earthquake happened. Only one house in town was damaged. The American who built that house thought he knew better how to build a house than the people who had been there all their lives. The house he built did not have integrity. We need to be people of integrity and honesty," Dunham said. "Success can simply be changing the life of another or reaching some small goal. How we react to failure will determine our character. Search for the truth and live according to it."

Principal Johnson and school board member Royd Hatt concluded the program by introducing each graduate and handing out their diplomas. The graduates marched out of the auditorium and formed a receiving line in front of the school for all in attendance to congratulate them.

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