Winter Sports School sends another class of graduates into the world
November 21, 2018
When the 31 graduates threw their caps into the air at the close of the ceremony on Friday, everyone was smiling.
Parents snapped photos and students hugged friends and family members while thinking giddily about the approaching winter season and their futures. The Winter Sports School's class of 2018 had graduated.
Excitement permeated the room throughout the ceremony, which was held Friday at the Temple Har Shalom. Tess Miner-Farra, head of the school, spoke about how proud she was of the students and how eager she is to see what they accomplish.
"Collectively and individually, they represent the best of what the Winter Sports School can be," she said.
Students at the school attend classes over the summer and take a break in the winter to compete in different winter sports.
Miner-Farr said the graduates had achieved many accomplishments, both academically and in their sports.
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But what she will remember most about the 2018 class was their confidence about their own identities and abilities.
"They were quirky, but they were happy to be," she said after the ceremony.
The students participate in 10 different winter sports — including speed skating and biathlon. Still, she said, they accepted each other's differences without question.
Logan Chamberlain, a graduate, recognized these unique characteristics during a speech to the crowd.
"The Winter Sports School is a rare place, and it's full of rare people," he said. "Each of us is excellent in some way or another."
The students were also dedicated and passionate, he said.
Alex Koford, who also spoke, said he traveled 67,000 miles over four years to attend the Winter Sports School from his hometown of Ogden, and that's not counting all of the miles spent driving up to practice skiing.
The remaining seven student speakers gave their thanks to the school's teachers and their fellow classmates, some shedding tears as they thought about leaving behind their friends, who they often referred to as their family.
Brynne Hitchcock, another one of the speakers, said after the ceremony that she felt mixed emotions about graduating.
"It hasn't sunk in yet. But I'm excited to start a new chapter of my life," she said.
She does know that she is also excited to have a break. She said going straight from school to an intense competition season can be hard. Now, having graduated, she can focus her energy entirely on her Alpine racing competitions and her goal of making the U.S. Ski Team.
Each of the graduates will be pursuing different paths. Some plan to dedicate the next few years to their sport, while others hope to pursue a college degree and make time for competitions when they can.
Dave Kaufman, the former head of school and a retiring teacher, has seen graduates from the school go in all directions as soon as they leave. He advised the new graduates to keep in touch with each other and remember the bonds they made at the school.
"The world is about to scatter you," he said. "Hold on, stay in touch and swim against the tide that would kind of have you drift apart."
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