Caps off to Park City High School’s class of 2006
Hal Smith, who retired as Park City High School’s Principal earlier this year, appeared on Friday night as the graduation keynote speaker.
He took the stage in the Eccles Center after graduation was moved from The Canyons because of rain.
"Park City High School is a special place, I love this school," he said.
Since starting there in 1976 he said there have been many changes over the years.
"We saw longer hair and now we see men in their 50s longing for their hair," Smith joked.
On a more serious note he said he had watched the school grow from 167 students to 1,000, to having no advanced placement classes to offering 28, and from having a slight reputation to being in the top 1 percent of high schools in the nation, according to Newsweek Magazine and the Washington Post.
He left the students with a few parting words of advice, many he said were taken from a list of inspirational tidbits hanging in his home.
"Have passion about whatever you do hard work yields positive results," he said. "Risk must be taken, you’ve go to take a chance."
Smith was optimistic about the class of 2006 having an impact on the world.
"You can and will make a difference, I know that," he said.
Before leaving the stage he said that while the school would find a new principal, perhaps one smarter and maybe better looking, there was one thing they could not find a substitute for.
"No one who ever replaces me will love this school as much as I do," he said. "Good night and goodbye."
Derek Painter, the class valedictorian, addressed the audience with a top 10 list of lessons learned from various teachers. From George Murphy, Painter said he learned, "Feminist heretics make the coolest nuns."
Salutatorian, Jeff Bolling said every man and woman carries a debt for the act of living, one that can be repaid through compassion.
"Take my challenge and spread happiness," he said.
Student speaker Jennica Labertew acknowledged Ryan Sylvester and J.D. Quitiquit, members of the class, who passed away.
"Both Ryan and J.D. were a special part of this class and will never be forgotten," she said.
After confessing that she did not have all the answers and described how life can fluctuate, she wished her fellow graduates well.
"Class of 2006, today is your day, embrace it, treasure it and never forget it," Labertew said.
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Park City leaders have written another chapter in the reopening of the community even as the novel coronavirus continues to spread. The Park City Library on Monday became the latest municipal facility to welcome people inside again.