Graduates bid fond farewell to North Summit | ParkRecord.com

Graduates bid fond farewell to North Summit

One by one, the North Summit High School graduates sauntered down the aisles to their seats on the stage as Pomp and Circumstance echoed from the piano through the packed auditorium.

It was here that their high school careers would come to a close at last during a commencement ceremony held Monday evening. Following a handful of speeches about both charging into the future and looking back at the past, the graduates received their diplomas and bid a final goodbye to North Summit High School.

For Carson Richins, it was the culmination of a lot of hard work and four years that went by just a little too quickly.

"It’s weird to think I’m already graduating," he said before the ceremony. "It feels like just yesterday I first walked into this high school, and now it’s gone by in the blink of an eye and we’re out of here. I’m going to miss being able to see everyone every day. What I’ve heard from people who have graduated is you’re never going to see half your class again. It’s crazy how things change so fast."

Among those sorry to see the class of 2015 leave the North Summit halls was principal Russ Hendry. For him, the class will always hold a special meaning.

"This is the bunch I started with," he said. "They were freshmen when I started here as principal. This is a very driven class, very competitive. And as a whole, they’ve all gotten along really well.

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"You know you’re going to really miss some of them," he added. "Sometimes you get a little teary-eyed thinking about it. Some of them just come to mean a lot to you. In a lot of ways, you think of them as almost your own kids. You really do."

Keynote speaker Sierra Pratt, a 2011 graduate of North Summit, implored the graduates to go beyond their comfort zones and discover what they want to do with the rest of their lives. She urged them to chase their passions relentlessly.

Many graduates were already thinking ahead to what the coming years may hold. Cameron Smith, for one, will leave next week on a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints mission to Jacksonville, Fla., which he said makes graduating seem "like a minor event." When he returns, he hopes to earn a college degree and become a lawyer or an orthodontist.

"It’s pretty crazy," he said. "Time goes by really fast, but I’m excited to take the next step."

Meg McMichael said she, too, was looking forward to the future, but admitted the unknown can also be intimidating.

"It’s bittersweet. I don’t think it’s really set in yet," said McMichael, who will attend school this fall at Dixie State University. "I’m scared for real life but it’s exciting. I’m going to have responsibilities and I’m going to have to find money somewhere. I don’t want to grow up."

Hendry said the graduates weren’t the only ones eagerly waiting to see what lies ahead.

"I think every teacher, every administrator and every parent, we’ve all built up these hopes and dreams for these kids," he said. "It’s just a matter of them going out and trying it for themselves."

But as much as the graduation ceremony was about looking ahead to college and careers, it was also about acknowledging what will be left behind. And for many, that meant realizing that nothing would ever be quite the same.

"I’m going to miss a lot of the teachers, and I’m going to miss seeing my friends every day," Smith said. "I mean, some of these people, you may not see again for the rest of your life. So it will be weird not seeing them at all. I’ve made some very good friendships."

North Summit High School graduation statistics

Information courtesy of North Summit High School

  • Number of grads: 60
  • Graduation rate: 98 percent
  • Gender breakdown: Female, 62 percent; Male, 38 percent
  • Ethnicity breakdown: Caucasian, 90 percent; Hispanic, 8.3 percent; African-American, 1.7 percent
  • Post-grad plans: college, 66.7 percent; workforce, 18.3 percent; LDS mission, 13.3 percent; military, 1.7 percent

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