Zyler Tillman makes his way across the football field and raises his hands in celebration as his name is announced to receive his high school diploma.
Zyler Tillman makes his way across the football field and raises his hands in celebration as his name is announced to receive his high school diploma. Christopher Reeves/Park Record.
The mountains in Kamas served as the background of South Summit High School's 100th graduation as seniors walked one by one to their seats on the football field. Bright pink low-top sneakers, wooden espadrilles and neon green tennis shoes peeked out from underneath the students' graduation gowns.

After a prayer recited by Beau Rydalch, Steven Flinders took to the podium to reminisce the past year with his classmates. He said he had written down a quote from a peer, teacher or administrator every day and shared some with the audience.

The quotes, he said, were part of his senior year experience but more important was what he learned along the way. He received an education, learned life lessons and values and was taught how to endure and overcome hard times.

Kaitlyn Rockhill, left, Kayli Farmer and Anna Young review their school experience, from kindergarten to their senior year, during their graduation
Kaitlyn Rockhill, left, Kayli Farmer and Anna Young review their school experience, from kindergarten to their senior year, during their graduation ceremony on the South Summit High School football field on Thursday, May 29. Christopher Reeves/Park Record.

"This is from a letter we wrote to ourselves in Mrs. Rydalch's sophomore English class; 'I hope I did everything I wanted to do. I hope I have no regrets and that I lived it up while I could,'" he said. "I think I did, and I think we all did. We had good times and bad times, but they were all for the best."

Senior Shayle Thompson then sang a medley of songs accompanied by her guitar that she said she felt represented graduation to her. The tunes included "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins and "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield.

"Performing those songs was sad but exciting at the same time knowing that this is the last time I performed in high school," she said following graduation. "It does not feel real, that's for sure."

Kaitlyn Rockhill, Anna Young and Kayli Farmer took their classmates and the audience down memory lane with their "Class Review," reciting a collection of stories and incidents from each year of their school career in South Summit.

From an April Fool's prank in kindergarten to fake marriages in second grade to taunting freshmen as seniors, each story held special memories for a senior class that grew up together.

Senior band members, including students on drums, bass guitar, piano and tambourine, played "Road Trip" as classmates clapped and danced along.

South Summit district retirees Jerry Parker, left, Chip Hayes and Barry Walker share a laugh as memories about their time at South Summit is shared.
South Summit district retirees Jerry Parker, left, Chip Hayes and Barry Walker share a laugh as memories about their time at South Summit is shared. Christopher Reeves/Park Record.

Haley Crystal addressed her classmates, admitting she was nervous and shaking as she read. Short and sweet, Crystal's speech encouraged her peers to stand strong when facing the obstacles they will inevitably face post-high school.

"I wish I could tell you we won't ever screw up, but that's not true. I wish I could tell you every day will be fantastic, but that's not true either," she said. "However, I can tell you to have courage when things go wrong. Don't ever take life or the moments that make up life for granted."

After the senior Tapestry choir members sang "Come Thou Fount," senior Kennedy Peterson and her father, Chad Peterson, honored South Summit's retirees on the field.

Jordan McNair shakes South Summit School Board President Craig Hicken’s hand as he is handed his high school diploma. Christopher Reeves/Park Record.
Jordan McNair shakes South Summit School Board President Craig Hicken's hand as he is handed his high school diploma. Christopher Reeves/Park Record.

"If you have ever shattered a student's cell phone against a wall in class, you might be retiring," Kennedy joked, referring to eighth-grade teacher Chip Hayes to laughs from the audience.

On a more serious note, Chad asked students and attendees to stand if they had been taught, fed or coached by any of the retirees, and all students and more than half the audience stood clapping.

SSHS Principal Steve Camp concluded the ceremony by presenting the class to South Summit school board president Craig Hicken who then accepted, on behalf of the state of Utah, the South Summit school board and Superintendent Barry Walker, that the students had met all graduation requirements.

After receiving their diplomas and a closing prayer by Brad Richins, the South Summit High School class of 2014 sang the school song together one last time before throwing their graduation caps up in the air.

"Best Day of My Life" by American Authors blasted over the loudspeakers as graduates searched for their families on the football field, received congratulatory hugs and took photos with friends and family.

Crystal and Thompson said they will be attending college in the fall, Southern Utah University to study business and Utah Valley University to study community health education, respectively. Classmate Mark Watson has different plans. He is completing the paperwork to head out on a Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission.

"I'm hoping to serve my mission in the U.S. or in Europe, and I'm looking forward to the experience and hopefully meeting new people, bringing some more people to the Gospel," he said. "I'm looking forward to the future, what will come next and what I will do with the rest of my life."