Let the graduations begin.
Tooele County School District’s first high school graduation for 2023 started on Monday night, May 22, with Blue Peak High School awarding 29 diplomas in a ceremony in their gym.
“This is one of the largest graduating classes we have had,” said Kendall Topham, Blue Peak High School principal.
The chairs on the gym floor were full. The custodian opened the bleachers on the side of the gym. And people were standing in the back as the graduates marched in to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance.”
The ceremony included the posting of colors by the Tooele City Volunteer Fire Department. The national anthem played on the piano by Christina Ashby, BPHS music teacher. Topham then welcomed the students, faculty and guests.
Assistant Principal Travis McCluskey presented medals for completion of Career and Technical Education pathways to three seniors — Gabriella Jiminez for a CTE Honors Pathway in python programming and a CTE pathway in Culinary Art; Raegan Richards for a CTE Pathway in Culinary Arts, and Andrea Rodriguez for a CTE Pathway in Graphic Design and Communications.
Chloe Fisher received the Superintendent’s Academic Achievement Award.
The first student speaker was Adrian Whitlock. Whitlock told his fellow graduates that accomplishing things takes more than a willingness to do things.
“You have to get out there and do it, which is more than just willing or trying … You have to get out there and do it,” he said. “I challenge you to always get out there and do it and while you’re doing it, always be willing to give others a helping hand.”
Raegan Richards was the second student speaker.
“Look at us; we did it!” Richards said. “Never give up because other people say you can’t do this. … Never stop believing in yourself. … To the Class of 2023 — Congratulations! Let’s go change the world.”
Emily Hondel, a 2018 Blue Peak High School graduate, was the final speaker.
“Success doesn’t depend on ACT scores, but on how much you are committed to learning for the rest of your life,” Hondel told the graduates.
Topham closed by encouraging the graduates to define their character and to stay true to their character.
“Character implies attributes that include integrity, courage, loyalty and fortitude,” Topham said. “Be accountable and take ownership of your character”
Topham warned the graduates that failure is part of life and that it will most likely occur multiple times in their lives.
“Don’t lose sight of your goals and aspirations, dig in and work hard always,” he said. “I encourage you to discover life. You are young, with ample opportunities ahead of you to pursue your dreams and interests. Continue to develop your talents and obtain your necessary training and education.”
He concluded by telling the graduates to, “Throw off the bowlines, sail away from the harbor, catch the trade winds in your sail — explore, create and discover.”
Blue Peak High School is the school district’s alternative high school. It is located at the school district’s Community Learning Center in Tooele City. Many of Blue Peak’s students are referred to the school by counselors at other high schools in Tooele Valley because the students are severely short of expected credits, putting timely graduation at risk, according to school district officials.