North Summit High School graduate and member of the National Honor Society, Ta tiana Fa avale, poses for photos after receiving her diploma. Christopher
North Summit High School graduate and member of the National Honor Society, Ta tiana Fa avale, poses for photos after receiving her diploma. Christopher Reeves/Park Record.
The classichigh school graduation anthem, "Pomp and Circumstance," filled North Summit High School's auditorium as seniors dressed in purple graduation gowns walked on stage to their seats. North Summit School District's centennial class was ready to receive their high school diplomas and leave the comfort and security of the NSHS hallways to the college classrooms or workplaces of their choice.

NSHS senior Aubrey Staples gave the welcoming remarks and announced the schedule of events, including speeches by her classmates as well as inspirational teachers that "influenced [them] greatly."

Salutatorian Caleb Lundquist took the podium to inspire his fellow classmates, reminding them of their middle school graduation only four years prior.

North Summit High School student body officers break out laughing at a joke made about a fellow graduating senior as they reminisce. Christopher
North Summit High School student body officers break out laughing at a joke made about a fellow graduating senior as they reminisce. Christopher Reeves/Park Record.
He said two teachers, Wade Murdock and Doug Garfield, stood up at their graduation and said they were a class of talented students and expected great things from them.

Lundquist said an article he read recently explained the three steps to becoming excellent: first believing you are excellent, making excellence a habit and being aware that excellence is a long-term commitment rather than a quick fix.

"As we venture out into our next phase of life, may we always strive for excellence. We should always remember we are the 100th graduating class, and there were a lot of people before us who got us to this point that we will continue to make proud," he said, ending his speech with a quote. "'Follow your passion in life. Stay true to yourself and never follow someone else's path; unless you are in the woods, and you get lost. If you see a path, then you should definitely take it.' Thank you for all the memories, guys."

Valedictorian Austin Simister took a more serious approach with his speech, telling the story of a man hiking his way up a mountain. Much like the hiker, he said, his classmates will encounter rough patches and may even lose their way.

North Summit s Class of 2014 harmonizes while singing  My Wish  by Rascal Flatts on stage during the graduation ceremony. Christopher Reeves/Park Record.
North Summit s Class of 2014 harmonizes while singing My Wish by Rascal Flatts on stage during the graduation ceremony. Christopher Reeves/Park Record.

"The hiker found himself lost in a dark, dense grove of trees, but he pushed forward and found the path again," he said. "There will be many times when we may get lost, and those patches may be small or some much larger than others, but the most important thing to remember is to never give up."

The graduating class chose "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts as their class song and sang it in unison as Katie Calderwood played along on the piano. NSHS student body officers carried on the theme by announcing their wishes for their classmates, some serious and some more playful.

"Austin Simister, our wish for you is that you practice polygamy so we can all share you," said one senior, winking and pointing at Simister along with her fellow officers, to the laughs in the audience.

Katie Folker, left, graduate Brook Richins and Sierra Simkins take a  selfie  in the North Summit High School gymnasium after the graduation ceremony.
Katie Folker, left, graduate Brook Richins and Sierra Simkins take a selfie in the North Summit High School gymnasium after the graduation ceremony.

NSHS senior Jessica Vernon introduced faculty speakers, including Superintendent Jerre Holmes, Katie Silcox and Hannah Wilde. The three spoke to the class, wishing them well in their future endeavors and offering words of wisdom.

"Set your own personal boundaries, stay true to them and do not be afraid, because learning from your mistakes brings success," Wilde said. "Always be true to yourselves, and always be brave.

When Wilde concluded her speech, North Summit High School Principal Russ Hendry announced to the school board, superintendent and audience that it was time to hand the Class of 2014 their high school diplomas.

Graduates gathered in the gymnasium after the ceremony, receiving congratulatory hugs from their families and taking "selfies" with friends. While some were nervous about what will happen next, others were more excited. The common thread among the graduates, however, was that they felt prepared.

Trevor Hale said he is grateful to his school district for preparing him for college by providing not only next-level technology but also the opportunity to take college courses and receive prerequisite class credits.

"I'm planning to go to Salt Lake Community College in the fall and then go to Utah State University and study wildlife science, which is what I want to get my bachelor's and master's degrees in," he said. "I'll miss my school, but I am nervous and excited to be on my own."

Pedro Ojeda said receiving his high school diploma was an amazing experience, and he feels more than prepared to attend the Art Institute to study graphic design. Some of his classmates, however, will not be entering college right away.

Lundquist will first serve a Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in Romania and then attend Utah State University. He said he found out he would be going to Romania about a month ago and will carry with him the lessons he learned from his teachers and faculty in North Summit.

"This place has taught me work ethic," he said. "All my great teachers taught me how to be a hard worker but more importantly how to be a good person and treat people kindly. I'm excited to get out there and change people's lives."