Under cloudy skies, Park City High School grads receive a proper send-off
June 10, 2015
The skies outside were gray, and the graduates were huddled in the Park City High School gym, where they waited to line up and march in the echo of "Pomp and Circumstance."
Principal Bob O’Connor grabbed a microphone and quieted them to deliver unfortunate news. There’s a 20-percent chance of thunder, he said, and that would push graduation from the football field into the Eccles Center. The students booed. They wanted the weather to hang on for just a few more hours. They were hoping for one last positive omen before whatever would be coming next after leaving high school behind.
The clouds cooperated, giving the Park City High School class of 2015 ample time to accept diplomas in front of a large and cheering crowd and to ponder both the future and what was being left behind.
For many of the graduates, it was the symbolic unlocking of newfound independence. They would be off to college or to jobs, and they would be leaving Park City and the constraints of childhood. To Bosten Van Der Veur, that meant California, where he will play basketball for a junior college.
"It will be fun to move on and go to college, starting a new chapter in life with more freedoms," he said. "Being in this community and playing basketball and knowing everyone has been an amazing experience. But I think it will be cool to go on and play at the next level and make new relationships."
Carlin O’Connell will be attending Colorado State University and studying business. She said she is also looking forward to having more freedom but added that at the same time she will miss the comfort of Park City.
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"I’ve been in Park City my whole life, so this is a really new thing," she said. "So to take a big new step like that is kind of scary."
Van Der Veur also admitted that there will be aspects of high school he is sorry to say goodbye to — namely the people, from teachers he’s forged bonds with to his fellow classmates.
"It’s definitely going to be very different," he said. "I grew up with all these people, all throughout grade school and all the way up to high school. It’s going to be weird not seeing them every day and not spending time with them.
For Chrissy Glasman, the commencement ceremony signaled the achievement of something she’s been working toward her whole life. But it was only once she donned the cap and gown that she was truly able to put what it meant into perspective.
"It hadn’t completely hit me until right now," she said. "I’m kind of all of a sudden very excited."
Glasman also said the day was a celebration of good fortune. She felt privileged to have gone to Park City High School, which she said had set her up for a successful future.
"My dad works at Kearns High School, so I’ve learned to realize how blessed I am to have gone to this school," said Glasman, who will attend the University of Utah’s honors college in the fall and compete in the javelin throw for the track and field team. "I am very thankful for attending this lovely high school."
Park City High School graduation statistics
Information courtesy of Park City High School
- Number of grads: 363
- Graduation rate estimate: 95 percent
- Gender breakdown: Female, 48 percent; Male, 52 percent
- Ethnicity breakdown: Caucasian, 80 percent; Hispanic, 16 percent; Asian, 3 percent; African-American, 1 percent; American Indian, less than 1 percent; Pacific Islander, less than 1 percent
- Post-grad plans (students could choose multiple options): college, 94 percent; workforce, 27 percent; travel, 11 percent; LDS mission, 6 percent; undecided, 3 percent; military, 2.6 percent