Utah Senator Bev Evans addresses female grads | ParkRecord.com

Utah Senator Bev Evans addresses female grads

Women today have more choices than ever, something they should be grateful for and take advantage of, said Sen. Bev Evans, R-Altamont.

On Monday the Woman’s Athenaeum hosted their 65th annual graduation celebration for the young women who are part of Park City High School’s class of 2006 and Evans was their keynote speaker.

The oldest women’s group in Park City, the Woman’s Athenaeum, was founded in 1897 by the wives of miners. The word Athenaeum translates to temple of learning or learning in the mountains. Today, the organization focuses on six areas: arts, conservation, home life, international affairs, public affairs and education.

In past years they have hosted a tea for the female graduates, but this year the event was an evening of inspirational words.

Evans concentrated her speech on the importance of helping others and taking advantage of the opportunities American women have.

She shared a story about Special Olympics participants in Seattle, Wa. During the 100-yard dash one of the participants fell, the other eight runners went back for him and the group crossed the finish line with their arms linked together.

"What really matters is helping others win too," Evans said.

During her work in Somalia she helped teach English as a second language, there she learned the benefits of being from the United States and having choices.

"Young women, you have every opportunity because you are an American," she said.

Evans also led a moment of silence for the audience to think about the people who have supported them in their lives.

"Anyone who has ever graduated has many people who have believed in him or her," she said.

After encouraging the young women to be adaptable because no one is immune to change, she wished them the strength and grace to make choices in the future that are beneficial to their friends and neighbors. She closed with a quote from Mark Twain.

"’Always work like you don’t need the money. Always fall in love like you’ve never been hurt. Always dance like nobody is watching. And always, always, live like it’s heaven on Earth,’" Evans said.

Following the Senator’s speech, an award was presented to Emily Lake for being an outstanding female graduate. She is yearbook co-editor, a senior tutor, a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer and last year Lake received the Harvard Book Award.

In an interview following her award Lake said all of her friends were there, she said she got where she is today with the support of her family.

"A lot of it is just because my parents have always encouraged me," Lake said, adding that getting involved and having life experiences has made her high school career memorable.

In the fall, Lake will attend Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo where she plans to study business.

Lake said the graduation celebration was different but nice and she liked hearing an accomplished female speaker.

"I think that it is a very unique and special event, in today’s world especially, we need to take a moment and recognize these accomplishments," said Woman’s Athenaeum President Kathy Calhoun-Damon.

Former president Lynda Simmons said she could remember when girls wore prom dresses to the event.

"It’s just a fun social night to really celebrate their graduation," Simmons said.

Calhoun-Damon addressed the girls and like Evans, emphasized that they have choices.

"As you continue your education and you leave Park City with a strong academic preparation you can do whatever you want to do," she said.

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