Amid waves of applause, members of the 2014 graduating class of Grantsville High School walked across the stage in the gymnasium Wednesday to receive their diplomas as the 100th class since the school was organized.
“What is the secret to our success?” asked Rep. Merrill Nelson during his address, “I believe it is our sense of identity and belonging.”
There were 171 graduates listed in the program as having received diplomas.
“It’s been a good ride, and now on behalf of the Centennial Class of 2014, I leave the reins to the future students of this school,” said Valedictorian Ephraim Tripp.
Tripp urged his classmates to never procrastinate, work hard and always choose to be happy — but not before he used his cell phone to photograph himself on-stage with his class in the background.
“Happiness has always been and always will be a choice,” said the 4.0 student body president and three-year soccer captain. “I encourage you to carry a good attitude for the rest of your life.”
Salutatorian Sierra Allen spoke about the power of kindness and helping people in need, relating examples from service trips she’s participated in throughout the world.
“I’ve learned that you will only learn true happiness when you put someone else’s needs above your own,” said the senior yearbook editor. “It can be sweet and surprising to learn that as we lose ourselves in service, we find our own problems drifting away.”
Garrett Webb, who suffered a brain injury during a sledding accident in February 2013, walked across the stage without his wheelchair to receive his diploma.
A moment of silence was held for Alaxandir “Mayo” Meono, who passed away earlier this month.
As he began his address, Nelson, who graduated from GHS in 1973, said he couldn’t resist wearing his old letterman jacket one last time to show his school spirit. He said he was in attendance when the baseball team won the state championship earlier this month.
“On paper we may not be the best team, but on the field we were,” he said. “I suppose if someone from the outside came here to find what makes a championship team, they wouldn’t find it at our ball field, they probably wouldn’t find it in our school building or in the size and number of our players. To find what makes our champions, they would have to look in our homes, our families, our parents who are here, the teachers who are here.”
“They would also have to look into the hearts of our players,” he added.
Nelson went on to give advice while encouraging graduates to decide now what they want to do and be, and to set goals to reach those objectives: Include further education, provide service to others, marriage to the right person, and to never give up in the face of adversity.
“As you go out into the world, when you face your adversities, know that here in this town you have friends who love you and know your name,” he said. “We have full confidence, even though some of you have some hesitation, we have full confidence you will succeed.”