North Summit High School graduates step into their futures | ParkRecord.com

North Summit High School graduates step into their futures

Clad in purple, the seniors at North Summit High School stepped into the auditorium one by one and marched down the aisles. Some parents and teachers wiped away tears as the students took their seats and smiled, excited and nervous about leaving their school and friends and starting a new chapter.

The school's graduation ceremony, which took place Monday, was a time for the 78 graduates to look back at their accomplishments, but also to ask themselves, "What comes next?"

That was the question that Elias Michael Crittenden, valedictorian, began his speech with. He answered by saying that both failure and success would likely come to his classmates in the future, and he urged them to observe both as learning opportunities.

Salutatorian Seth Thomas Brown also spoke of failures that he and his classmates overcame. He implored his classmates to keep a positive mindset in their futures.

"Failure is a delay, not a defeat," he said. "Don't let fear of failure hold you back from reaching your goals."

Russ Hendry, principal of the high school, said that many of the graduates had already achieved successes. About a third of the class completed courses with the college readiness program Utah Career Pathways and four graduated with associates degrees.

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"There are a lot of individual high-achievers," he said.

Those successes were highlighted throughout a speech from Jerre Holmes, superintendent of the North Summit School District. He talked about the records some students broke in sports and how some were able to conquer obstacles such as addictions.

"I couldn't be more proud of you," he said.

Though individual achievers, the seniors were also part of a group that fostered support and success for one another.

Jeremy Schaffer said that the "strong community," both between students and the staff, is what he will miss the most about his time at North Summit. He plans to join the military this summer.

Coree Gunn, who said that she will also miss her classmates, said that community was best summed up at school dances.

"If you're not dancing, someone will go up and pull you in and make you feel like you belong there," she said.

Many of the students will leave behind peers that they have been going to school with since kindergarten. That was the case for Zoe Croxford, who said that she felt nostalgic during the ceremony while performing a musical number on the violin.

"I can depend on all of these people 30 years down the road to have my back forever," she said. "That's what we build here at North Summit, we build a family. I don't think we're just getting an education, we're getting something that is for life."

But she is also eager to take her next steps in the world, especially because she graduated with her associates degree and feels prepared to take on college. She plans to become a nurse practitioner.

"I'm really grateful to have gone to North Summit," she said.