North Summit graduates say goodbye to school that shaped them
May 24, 2016
Cameron Richins walked around the dim halls of North Summit High School, hours before he would exit for the last time as a student, and the reality slowly began to sink in.
This was it.
"I’m just going to miss all my friends, seeing them every day," he said. "And just the atmosphere — North Summit has got a great student body, and I absolutely love everything about it. I’m going to really miss it."
Richins was among 88 graduates who marched through the North Summit auditorium, received their diplomas and walked out of the school and into the next chapters of their lives. The school held its commencement ceremony Monday evening, and the graduates, dressed in purple gowns and caps, were nervous, but ready, to take their first major step into adulthood.
"I’m so excited to try a new adventure," said Bristee McKnight, who planned to go to Dixie State University in St. George. "It’s so exciting to know that I can do whatever I want — whatever I put my mind to, I can do it."
To Russ Hendry, the school’s principal, competiveness will be the characteristic he remembers about the Class of 2016. He bragged that the class produced a National Merit Scholar (valedictorian Kylee Fluckiger) and will send student Wyatt Espell to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Nearly every student, he said, leaves having reached or come close to achieving their potential.
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"They’ve always been known as The Class," he said. "They compete with each other, and they’re a high-performing class for us. They’ve always been that way, from grade school on up. They pushed each other and tried to do their best. They cheered each other on, but there was definitely a little bit of a competitive edge."
Hendry said it has been fun to watch the class come into adulthood, and he will miss seeing them every day. Nearly everybody in the community takes pride in helping them grow, and that was proven by the crowd in the auditorium that was standing-room-only and eager to see them off.
"Everybody," he said, "pushed them and helped them and sometimes pulled them a little."
Mattie Jolley said graduating was a "surreal" experience, but she was proud to be part of the Class of 2016. She plans to enter the touted nursing program at Weber State University, and she said she wouldn’t have achieved so much without the help of her peers and the community.
"We’re all so smart academically, and the fact we’ve grown up together and are all so close is amazing," she said. "And we get so much support from the community. It’s incredible. It’s definitely pushed me to get good grades and compete with my classmates to get to the highest level I could. It helped me to reach my potential in high school."
Richins was also grateful for his classmates. He wants to go to Salt Lake Community College, get a degree in criminal justice and become a police officer. He is eager to follow his own path, but he also looks forward to seeing what his peers accomplish. As he looked around the crowded halls shortly before graduation, it was clear to him that their futures will be extraordinary.
"I know a lot of them are going into diesel mechanics, going to be nurses, doctors," he said. "I know there are going to be a lot of great things coming out of this class."
"I’ve known that since we were younger," he added. "We’re just a real special class. I’m just blessed to be a part of it."
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