"We're all scared. We might as well admit that," said Valedictorian Anne Fosburg during her address. Beneath the tiny, makeshift 13 etched in a looming PC hill, she told her class "We're all terrified."
Under faint clouds, Class President Skye Mooney left the podium crying. In her opening remarks, she warned "I was voted most likely to cry at graduation."
But they are afraid, Fosburg went on, because they have such big things ahead of them.
"Stand up," said Principal Bob O'Connor, who just completed his first year at Park City High, "if you will serve as a cadet in the U.S. Navy next year." Jonson Henry, the recipient of a congressional nomination, rose.
"Stand up," O'Connor went on, "If your mile time is lower than your weighted GPA." Ben Saarel, fresh from a dream mile victory that took him close to the mythical 4-minute mile mark, stood up proudly.
And they cried, Mooney said, because tears signal passion. Salutorian Jack Runburg praised his class of "prodigious artists and world-class athletes." He thanked Park City's parents and eclectic teachers. "Mulick made road kill seem less gross," he joked, "Fleming exposed us to leftist propaganda." (Longtime Park City faculty members Ed Mulick and Jim Fleming teach science and history, respectively.)
Anne Fosburg began with the Valedictorian's usual storm of rhetorical questions, then lost herself in thoughtful musing. "I think we forget how wonderful it can be to be lost," she said. Fosburg noted, in fact, that in 24 hours her class compiled 637 reasons to get lost from end-of-the-year lectures.
"Enjoy chaos," she continued, "because the rest of our lives will be filled with order."
Teachers Steve Cuttitta and George Murphy read names and presented diplomas. More than 150 students who earned above a 3.5 cumulative GPA graduated with honors.
Fosburg said getting lost frees a person from being "tied to any expectations," but her class, which boasts 12 Sterling Scholars and more than 45 National Honor Society Members, might feel tossed around by so many of them.
The ceremony opened with a flyby by a single plane leaving a trail of smoke. As an overflowing crowd filed off the grandstand and surrounding hillsides, Utah and American flags fluttered carelessly.
Henry said he doesn't know what to expect next year. The nascent Naval Cadet didn't cry, but he added, "Everything is changing and I don't know how I feel about that."