The class of 2011 sits on the stage of Emery High for the last time as they prepare to graduate.
The Emery High class of 2011 has now left the school to make their mark on the world. The theme for the graduation held on May 26 was "What lies behind and what lies before are tiny matters compared to what lies within." Class president Kalin Burr welcomed everyone to the graduation ceremony. He said the last three years have been the hardest but the best. All the graduates have different passions, but they all have things in common. They have accomplished much and will now show the world how much more they can accomplish. The class of 2011 won basketball championships and state theatre championships. They have earned thousands of dollars in scholarship money. They have raised money for those in need including class mates. This is a class never to be forgotten because we refuse to be forgotten. Thank you class of 2011 and best of luck in the future.
Co-Salutatorian Spencer Fehlberg told the story of visiting a museum with Coach Reynolds and some other teachers. Spencer put his arm around Coach Reynolds and one of the museum workers came up to him and told him not to touch the artifacts.
Fehlberg spoke of his love for running. The cross country course at Delta was hard. The course at Ferron saw Fehlberg in the lead followed by a 100 runners. He kept thinking, "I can't let them beat me." They didn't. Fehlberg won that race. Fehlberg talked about the power of one. One day he was walking by Doug Mecham's office and his friend Karla Urie, told him he should run for studentbody president, so he did and he won. "I don't know how much good I did, but I grew." Someone once stole a bike belonging to Cassius Clay. He told someone he was going to find who stole his bike and beat them up. The person told him, well you'd better learn how to fight first. So he did. One, can make the world better. Think of someone in your own life who had an influence on you.
"I hope to be half the man Coach Gardner was. Coach Gardner had advice for everyone. Take the opportunity to thank the people in your life and be like them." Fehlberg offered advice to the graduates as well as audience members telling them they have the potential to accomplish great things and to never give anything less than their best. "The power of one is great so go for it. Go for it now for the future is promised to no one," said Fehlberg.
Mandy Langston, co-Salutatorian spoke of the moments of their high school journey. Mr. Davis captured many of these moments with pictures and numerous slide shows of the year's activities. Mr. Mecham has given countless advice on schools and where to go to college. The teachers have all become comfortable friends and students feel free to talk to them. Who could forget Neal's jokes and Mr. Moss when he's funny.
Mark Twain said as you go through life you may be more disappointed by what you didn't do than by what you did. Langston remembered all the fun times and the trips to Wingers in Price. She remembered toilet papering houses, and sometimes the same house twice in one night. One of the things she will remember most about the class of 2011 is that they were all friends. Now it is time to move on to college, jobs or playing X-Box on your mom's couch for the next 20 years. We will be forever united by this great school. "You can make it a great day or not, the choice is yours," said Langston.
Sydney Tuttle told how her and her friend D'Lee Gardner went to a movie and to Walmart instead of studying for a test. The next day they asked Mrs. Whittle if they could take the test the following day, because of all the troubles they had the night before with running errands and not being able to find anything in Walmart and getting a flat tire on the way home and not being able to study for the test. Mrs. Whittle kindly said OK come and take the test the following morning. So the girls went home and studied like crazy and the next morning, Mrs. Whittle placed Sydney on one side of the room and D'Lee on the other and handed them their test which contained only one question, 'which tire?'
Tuttle said there are many things in life we can't control. But laughter is the best way to get through life. When we laugh we use 15 facial muscles. We burn 3.5 calories with a hearty laugh. Laughing works the abs and speeds recovery in sick patients. Laughter fights stress and improves mood.
Tuttle told of some situations which brought laughter. Her friend Ashley got a job at Stewarts Market. Her boss told her that part of her job would be to sweep the floor. Ashley seemed a bit indignant and told her boss, 'I will be graduating from Emery High in a couple of weeks,' so her boss said 'here, let me show you how.' Laugh every day instructed Tuttle. She related the time Alexis called in to excuse herself for being absent.
Laugh your way through life instructed Tuttle, because crying gives you a headache. "OK, now back to the test. D'Lee and I guessed the right tire, so Mrs. Whittle had no choice but to give us a good grade."
Nathan Mecham, co-Valedictorian, started his talk with a story, he said what do you call a dog with no legs. Then he said, it doesn't matter what you call it, it's never going to come to you. Mecham spoke of the power of one. He said there is a power within all of us, the power to remember one more question on Neal's history test. The power to run faster and jump higher than we ever have before. Mecham told of the state play-off football game against Park City. Emery was the underdog and no one statewide thought Emery would win that game. But, all the Emery players knew they were going to win. They played with their hearts. With just seven minutes left in the game, Park City pulled ahead. 'We could go out losers, or we could dig deep and finish that ball game. That last seven minutes Emery put up a miracle drive. Quinn Montgomery ran the ball back to the 40 yard line on the kick off. I caught a screen pass on the 50 yard line. Then, quarterback Cody Jones was sacked for a 13 yard loss. It was 23 yards for a first down when Colton Fasselin threw a wobbly pass to Nick Stoddard for a first down. He used the power within and we were down to the 30 yard line. It was fourth and six yards when Cody Jones threw a laser pass to Kashe Potter. We scored on two more plays. (Mecham scored that touch down) Park City got the ball back and Nick Stoddard intercepted the ball from Park City which sealed the deal. Every single player used the power within to win that game. The girls basketball at state beat Carbon, but a game I want to talk about was with Juan Diego. I had the opportunity to go watch that game. Juan Diego was a sub 500 team. But, at half time Emery was down 33-25. I watched the girls they looked dead like they had no spirit. But, something happened they dug deep to win and held Juan Diego to 12 points the rest of game. Juan Diego didn't score until the last second of the game in the fourth quarter. The girls needed the power to play, the power within. The season turned around at that point.
We need to find our own success and live a happy life. Maybe we came into high school and wanted to attain a certain GPA. Maybe our goal was just to graduate. Set a goal and reach it. Mecham told of a chant used by the sports teams that said day by day we get better until we can't be beat. Won't be beat.
Mecham encouraged everyone to be their best self and to improve themselves day by day until they can't be beat.
Jacob Tuttle, co-Valedictorian said he appreciates the support from families and teachers. "Thank you for the work you've put into us and helped us along the way." Tuttle said he had a hard time with the topic and couldn't get any ideas, so he decided to keep his talk simple. He said as children everyone starts with the basics like learning how to walk and talk. In school we get into harder subjects like math and science. Tuttle encouraged everyone to try just for the fun of it; study poetry and calculus just for the challenge. After graduation, everyone needs a plan. College, jobs, missions, no matter what lies ahead set goals for yourselves. Show what kind of person you are. Graduation is a major step which has been prepared for and looked forward to for a long time, but now we are moving graduation into the past. We are stronger and smarter than we've ever been before.
Tuttle said he knows the class of 2011 well and knows they will be a success. "I wish you all the best of luck in the future."
Principal Larry Davis spoke to the audience and graduates.
"Thinking about these seniors and all of the little anecdotes that come to mind over the years we've spent together at Emery High and for some, Canyon View Junior High, has had a calming effect on me, especially when juxtaposed on a time-line of other things going on in the world.
"When I think about the billionaire owners and millionaire players of the National Football League fighting over how to distribute $9 billion in profit, I feel like I wish I had those problems. I feel a little stressed...but then I feel better when I think about five amazing Emery High basketball players and their teammates raising the state championship trophy in front of their adoring fans- the simple folk of Emery County, and I think how I'm going to miss Nos. 3, 14, 22, and 33... Taylor, Jessica, Brooke, and Tayler... and I think of Cody Jones raising his hand in a gesture of "We're No. 1" as Nick Stoddard and Colton Torre did a victory dance on the artificial turf among the opulence of Park City High School, celebrating a football playoff win that no one thought Emery could pull off. That was pretty cool, and I think of Tice Guymon and Dillion Walls giving everything they had to give on the wrestling mat every time they put on a singlet... and of D'Lee Gardner coming out for the first day of track full of emotion but courageous enough to make it through the day, through the track meet named in her father's honor, and through the rest of the season... and whether it was about winning with class or losing with dignity, each of our senior student-athletes did it with pride and with the Emery Spartan logo on their uniforms.
"When I think about legislators from my beloved state of Utah passing law 477, the invisibility act, then unpassing it. I worry a little bit. But then I recall Elise DeBry rising from the shadows of the orchestra pit as the real Dirty Rotten Scoundrel... and Tyrell Clement doing a Bill Cosby bit on raising children... and D'Lee Gardner, Shantelle Hansen, Sydney Tuttle and Lexie Stokes putting on day-glo lipstick before kissing the wrestlers on the cheek for Senior Night... I have to chuckle, and then I feel much better and a little younger too. And call me anxious, but I get more than a little uptight when I think about all the media attention given to the likes of Charlie Sheen, and Tiger Woods, and Lindsay Lohan and their dysfunctional lives in light of all the meaningful and newsworthy things going on in the world... and then I think of tonight's honor speakers, and the academic allstaters, and the sterling scholars, and the students of the week... all of them seniors and on stage tonight, I think, 'Now that's newsworthy...' and I think how hard they have worked to get to this point in their lives, and how they've done it in the right ways with dignity and with honor to their families and our school.
"I have to shake my head when I think about the drug problems we face in America... but I feel better when I think of the students in this school who have stepped up to our own drug problems by dropping a note in the buddy box, or talking to an administrator, a counselor, or a law-enforcement officer about drug activity because they do care about human life, their school, and their education. That is satisfying and these kids are heroes and will be our leaders in the future and will perpetuate a strain of goodness that will show up in their own children.
"What gets me uptight sometimes is when someone says, 'Please join me in the pledge of allegiance... or Please rise for our national anthem,' and there are those who rise reluctantly, or mock the words, or lack the concentration our national symbols deserve, and when someone is paid a lot of money to sing the national anthem at a major sporting event like the Super Bowl, and can't remember the words... but then I recall standing next to Spencer Fehlberg each Monday morning during the school year as he leads the student body in the pledge... and the Emery pep band playing the National Anthem at home games and at the 3A State Girls' championship Basketball Game at the Huntsman Center... and our choir and band and student council honoring veterans in a dignified school program... and Elise DeBry singing the fourth verse of the national anthem so beautifully it takes us to those moments in American history that make us real...and I feel a lot better... and very proud of who I represent, and I'm reminded that love of country is appropriate for all ages and certainly the right thing to do.
"I have to shake my head in disbelief sometimes about the gridlock in our nation's capital, the lack of civility among some of our elected leaders, and that we have reached a point where we have to run ads on our school buses to help fund education. But I'm calmed by my recollections of Nathan Mecham dressed as a Wheaties Box on Cereal Night... and Tyrell dressed as Slim Jim or Cookie Monster leading the cheers in the student section... and other students dressed as candy and elves and tall Santa, and wearing MESS shirts, and Spartan battle helmets... and the pep band singing Hey Baby and Sam Smith wearing that green beanie, rubbing his belly and flashing a peace sign... and Mandy Langston taking on the boys in daily lunch-time no-blood, no foul basketball in the old gym, and our sterling scholars doing the hokey pokey in the hallway before going into the dignified awards program... and our cheerleaders filling the floor at the end of a game to lead those who really care about Emery High in the school song...Onward Gallant Spartans.
"But still I worry about gas prices, and unrest in the middle east, the economy and the depressing and deadly weather... yet I find comfort in recalling how the Spartan Dance has become embedded in Emery High culture... and how on one occasion nearly all of our students were on the floor of the old gym Spartan-dancing in unison ... and I recall our drill team on the floor of a gym in Richfield with hundreds of other drill down competitors and how proud I was of the Spardettes for how hard they had worked all year... and of Kelcy Faimalo who stood among the final three... and how impressed I have been of Peer Tutors like James Holland ... for spending so many volunteer hours after school helping other students with difficult assignments simply because of the common bond we share--- We're all Emery High Spartans.
"I still worry a lot about No Child Left Behind and Adequate Yearly Progress and UPASS and all other accountability measures that we endure... but I'm comforted in knowing that we really are doing well because we're trying to do our best in this odds-against-us world and that collectively we have a big heart... I've seen it many times. I've seen it in Melissa Atwood's artwork, the volunteer efforts of the Governor's Youth Council, the humanity of these kids when they give blood, food, clothing, money and their time to those in need, the courage of Wylie Nelson in fighting and beating cancer, and those who are fighting other illnesses, addictions, poverty, neglect, unemployment, and personal loss of loved ones because everyone of these graduates here tonight, has a personal story of how he or she got to this point, and none can say it has been without scars. For many of these seniors, those who came through Canyon View Junior High School, I'm the only secondary principal they have ever known... and I worry a little bit about that too, because that's a lot of responsibility for an administrator... and then I remember the first time I really looked at Spencer Fehlberg in vast amazement which came at the "Get Acquainted Party" at Canyon View Spencer's seventh grade year. In that party, Spencer, Nathan Mecham, and Tyrell Clement were totally uninhibited... they did the Chicken Dance, the limbo, the Macarena, the Boot Scoot, and at some point got down on the floor and did the Worm better than most real worms... and they've continued going through life doing the worm in one fashion or another. That's why I find comfort in my distress... because for everything that gets me down, these students, the class of 2011, have lifted me up, and they probably don't even know it because life's greatest moments are often those most subtle. For example: It was a senior this year who, when asked by Bobbie Hymas our homework class supervisor, if she could help him with his assignment, replied, 'Bobbie, I would prefer to get help from someone closer to my own age.' You guys make us laugh.
"While these 157 seniors have met the graduation requirements set by the state of Utah and the Emery County Board of Education, they also have, each in their own unique way, lifted our spirits because they have heart and the will to do something special with their lives. It is my hope that each of you graduates will always remember Emery High School as a place that gave you opportunity, and that one day, years from now, when you pass by this school with children of your own, you can say to them, 'That's where I learned to do the Spartan Dance, and where I dressed like a Wheaties box, and where I got in trouble for boxing, and where we won championships, and where my teachers challenged me to do more than I thought I could, and where Principal Davis gave daily announcements every morning that were so boring I thought my head would burst like a failed levee, but you know what, it was all worth it.' It has certainly been worth it for me. I'm younger now than I ever have been before. And so... It is my honor to recommend to the Emery County Board of Education, to board members Nanette Tanner and Sam Singleton and to board president, Laurel Johansen, each of you as a recipient of an Emery High School graduation diploma. It is, in so many ways, something to be proud of," said Principal Davis.
The seniors at this point came forward when their names were stated and they received their diplomas from Laurel Johansen and Nanette Tanner. After receiving their diplomas they sang the song, "The Halls of Emery," under the direction of David Bird.
The graduates left the auditorium where they were greeted by friends and family in the old gym.
They will now begin the journey which leads them down many paths as their years together as classmates have come to a close.