96 graduates look to future
"I’ve been waiting for this day for 12 years," said South Summit High School student Nick Sandoval, as he tried on his cap and gown one hour before the graduation of the class of 2007. He and 96 other seniors graduated Friday afternoon in an emotional ceremony on the South Summit football field in front of stands filled with family and community members.
Graduating were four high honor students, 24 honor students, nine departmental honor students and 96 students in transition, soon to begin making decisions on the directions their lives will take.
Immediately following graduation, high-honor student Sarah Lambert said she was "full of emotions." "I’m really sad it’s all over. I’m really excited for the future. I’ve loved it here. The people here are people I’ve known all my life."
Senior class president Jodisue Walker spoke of wanting to be Minnie Mouse, a baker, a firefighter a soldier and a football player as she grew up. "The fact is that none of us knows what we’re going to do," Walker said, adding that whatever that whatever career is chosen, "more than anything, it should be something we enjoy doing."
For one student, Parley Padfield, the day was especially sweet, because graduating was a milestone a goal she fought for. But before that could happen, she had accomplished another milestone, surviving an illness that at one point almost took her life.
South Summit principal Gary Twitchell was in awe of what Padfield had accomplished. "Carley missed a year and a half of school while in the hospital with an auto-immune disease. She got down to 90 pounds. She had multiple organ failure. But she survived and came back. She worked like a dog to make up for the junior year she missed. She was so far behind, and she made all the work up. She didn’t ask for any favors."
Padfield was elated one hour prior to graduation. "It’s awesome," she said. "I’m glad to be here. My family was my inspiration." Padfield will get a bone marrow transplant in July. She hopes to eventually go into nursing.
Soon-to-be graduates Jane Sorensen and Carley Page performed sang in the early portion of the commencement exercise. Jon Latham performed a drum solo that involved intricate patterns of drumming mixed with juggling of drumsticks.
Twitchell presented the Class of 2007 and Phil Marchant, president of the South Summit Board of Education, and Kendall Woolstenhulme, vice president of the Board, presented diplomas.
Several speakers became emotional near the end of commencement. After the Class of 2007 sang the school song, ending the ceremony, they threw their mortar boards into the darkening sky. The spectators filed out of the stands not to head for their cars, but to join the new graduates on the field, and take photos.
With school ending for the Kamas seniors one week earlier, they had days and nights of planned activities, ending with the viewing of the new "Pirates of the Caribbean."
Following graduation, a dinner was held for graduates. Alcohol-free activities were planned for the all-night event at the school and at the adjoining South Summit Aquatic Center.
Leonard and Joyce Wickhorst made their way from the football field to the car they had driven from Pocatello Idaho to see their granddaughter Carley Patfield graduate. "Six months ago we didn’t think we’d ever see this day," Leonard Wickhorst said.
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Councilor Glenn Wright estimated that the ability to provide renewable energy sources for county power will cost the average Summit County resident $0.70 per year above current costs.