The Park Record editorial, June 6-8, 2012
If The Park Record had been asked to address Park City High School’s graduating class, our speech would likely contain a bittersweet mix of both optimism and regret.
Over the years of reporting on this class’s accomplishments we have, more than once, been amazed at the variety of talent and the depth of commitment of its members. Their accomplishments have spanned both academics and athletics. They have also made their mark in community activities, participating in numerous civic clubs and charitable organizations.
At times, we are fairly certain, students may have felt the bar was set too high, as evidenced by the fervent debates over excused absences and the need for schedules tailored especially for scholar/athletes. Despite the clichéd image of indolent teenagers, "overcommitted" is the best way to describe Park City students.
At other times, we struggled to meet their expectations. They coaxed us into contributing to countless fundraisers for disadvantaged children in foreign countries and communities stricken by natural disasters. They also convinced us to take better care of ourselves and our environment by exercising, recycling and conserving energy.
But as we send them off to find their own paths, we have some regrets.
This class was raised on the country’s, and our town’s, cocky self-assuredness prior to 9/11. During the run up to the 2002 Olympic Games, local students and their parents basked in the world’s attention and then saw that confidence shattered after the attacks.
While the Games pulled us together as a community, that sense of unity quickly frayed, on both the national and local levels. Solidarity across borders and political parties dissolved into bickering and stalemates. Unfortunately, that polarization also filtered down to the local level. Park City’s students, especially those in the upper grades are well aware of the tensions that exist between the district-level administrators and teachers. They are cognizant, too, of the frail economy and their own uncertain financial futures.
We wish we could have handed them a stronger economy and a more cohesive school district, that we could promise that their peers would not be sent to fight in foreign wars, and that our environmental outlook was brighter.
But, if the podium was ours on Friday, we are certain that looking out over this class of extraordinary young adults, our confidence would be restored. And we would offer this promise: that we will continue to support their efforts to ensure a brighter future for all of us, and especially for the classes that will follow them.