Driving into Paris Thursday evening it became obvious that something major was happening. Cars were parked on both sides of the street and even in the back of the Tabernacle there was simply no place to park. The excitement seemed to focus on the Tabernacle and as most of you might know this was the sight of the Bear Lake High School graduation ceremony for the class of 2018. What a perfect place to celebrate the passing of the old and the beginning of the new.
In the back of the building the now senior students had gathered, they were abuzz with laughter, excited conversations, anticipation and joy. The emotions were overflowing as the parents hurried to get that perfect seat to watch the once children graduate as adults and begin their new lives in this world. Walking into this sacred site it was breath taking to see the amount of people that had shown up to attend this ceremony. The pews were full, balconies packed to capacity and people even sat in the isles as there was no other place to sit.
The crowd settled down quickly, quiet silence and a sense of reverence set in as the organ played traditional muted graduation music. Suddenly everyone was asked to stand for the national anthem that was played live by three brass trumpets. Everyone placed their hands on their hearts and faced patriotically to the flag. Then the purpose of being here for this ceremony was made clear by the opening speaker Shelly Wallentine, Principal Luke Kelsey and Kiya Kelsey bringing the crowd to order and officially starting the event.
Walter Biesinger gave a warm introduction to the honor speaker, David Biesinger. David Biesinger the senior class co- president, began by describing the phenomenal growth and changes of the school pointing out how the library became a gathering place that students liked to be in. He describe an atmosphere in the school where students played sports together, came together and stuck together. He pointed out that this was the time to make hard choices, that they had chose to stick together until the end. It is a time to make each moment count. KodiAnn Skinner, in her introduction of the honor speaker who appeared very happy and was sparkling with enthusiasm, began by introducing the next speaker, the student body president; Matti Critchlow. Matti began in a meaningful speech stating that our hands hold the future as they progressed into the adult world. Isabel Hardcastle the student body vice president was told by her mother not to cry, she was very professional as she held back tears of joy.
A musical number “remember Me” from Coco was performed by Cissly Jensen, Tori Dunn, McCay McDowell and James Farmer was played and caused the attendees to breath a sigh as the peaceful melody was played.
Shaylee “Zoey” Wells walked up to the podium and confidently introduced the class salutatorian Maura Hansen. Maura stood out with her oration joking drawing in the attention then suddenly throwing out a joke that spread laughter among those listening. Peyton Johnson then introduced the valedictorian; DJ Hillier. DJ was described as a 4.o student that always appeared early for class. DJ was obviously very popular and well liked, he reflected on playing basketball and made a joke about; now being the perfect time to ask your parents for money, causing parents to gasp but then be relieved as they listened intently to more good advice. Michael Wilding then took center stage announcing the citizenship awards. Cameron Crane followed soon after listing out academic awards, noting the scholarship fund had reached $1229,840 in contributions. Student stood with pride as they were recognized for their stellar achievements He went on to describe two students of the class that had enlisted in the Marine Corps.
President Kelsey began the presentation of graduates. He listed different career paths that graduates had chosen; enlisting in the military asking all to stand in honor for this great moment. Parents showed their appreciation for their children's efforts and accomplishments standing and clapping in a loud raucous. Principal Kelsey donned his familiar grin as he mixed up serious content with personal jokes. He quoted Gandhi, excerpts from the Wright Brothers, mixed up white collar careers with blue collar noting both were very good choices and achievements. He was able to recognize each individual student, teacher, nurses, janitor and other staff, invoking images of Rosa Parks who was tired of giving in encouraging the graduates in a very spectacular way, all the while continuing with this huge, characteristic smile, that you would have to see to believe. You could tell he loved these students stating that they would always be famous in the history books of Bear Lake High School.
The final and most anticipated moment then began as students were called one by one to receive their diplomas. The presentations were made by; Danielle Culver, Craig Culver, Kevin wells and the presentation of stoles was made by Kaylee Payne. The clapping and cheering rose to a level that was out of control ans the finalities of this ceremony drew to a close. Cell phones were raise recording this memorable event to preserve it in the annals of family history.
The graduates proceeded to be congratulated , shaking hands with individual board members, principal Kelsey and teachers. They were then instructed to flip their tassel from right to left signifying that they had graduated and had received their high school diplomas.
The ceremony was then brought to a close by Chelsea Alleman.