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Episode 38: Honoring the Class of 2020 – Words of Wisdom from Graduates

On this episode of the Supercast we honor the Graduating Class of 2020 by sharing their words of wisdom as they look back on a year like no other and look forward with fierce optimism. We could not be more proud of these resilient, strong and successful young men and women. Listen and be inspired by our 2020 graduates.

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<h2>Audio Transcription</h2>

Hello, and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. On this episode of the Supercast, we honor the graduating class of 2020. We're doing it by sharing powerful words of wisdom. As our graduates look back on a year like no other and looked forward with fierce optimism. We could not be more proud of these resilient, strong and successful young men and women. Listen and be inspired by students delivering their high school graduation speeches. We start with a few words from Bingham High Senior Class President, Carter. Congratulations.

Our senior year hasn't turned out how we thought it would, but it definitely will go down in the books as memorable. We have had a one of a kind senior year. If we look on the bright side, we didn't have to wake up for school five days a week. And we were able to spend as much time with our families before heading off and starting our futures. I'm so glad that we got to spend a memorable senior year together and at the greatest school throughout our three years at being here. We have stuck together. As we have dealt with this pandemic. I've seen many ways that we have stood together and helped each other through these hard times. Even though it has been rough, there've been many good moments too. I have watched as our fellow seniors have stepped up and recognized each other on social media. Others have lifted each other spirits with posts about the good times and good memories. When I've considered what we have been through this year, this quote comes to mind. "Dear high school seniors of 2020. You were born when the world was grieving over 911 and you are graduating as the world grieves a pandemic. Although your two biggest launches into freedom, birth and graduation, have taken place in the midst of a tragedy, just know that the world is an amazing, loving, beautiful place. And it is waiting for you with open arms. We grieve with you that your senior year is ending in this way, but we can't wait to see how you overcome. You were made for this." This quote embodies the class of 2020. We were made to do hard things.

Now we will hear from Copper Hills High. Introduce yourself, please.

My name is Connor Haslem, and I'm currently the Senior Class President for the Class of 2020.

What is the graduation theme for the Class of 2020 at Copper Hills High School?

"Seize Your Moment" from Disney's Coco. I just wanted to explore that for a second. From here on out, life will be handing us opportunities and success. And other times we will be facing hardships and failure. Our lives are in our own hands and we will have the chance to become anybody be want to be. If we work hard enough to get there. One of my favorite quotes in the whole world is "Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forgive the ones who don't and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it'd be easy. They just promised you it would be worth it." There is not a single person in this graduating class that is not destined for greatness. We are hardworking. We are motivated. We are dedicated. Most importantly, we are the future.

And now Grace, Copper Hills High Valedictorian.

Our transition out of high school happened faster for us than it has for any other class. Change is always easier when it's gradual, but this abrupt end made us realize how important this all was while we were in school. Many of us didn't appreciate the time we had. We didn't think about the amazing experiences that wouldn't last forever. We were on rafts, just trying to stay afloat. I would go to class and count down the days until the weekend. I'd constantly reassure my friends that we'd be graduating soon. Now that it's over, I find myself constantly thinking about all the people I met here, all the friends and teachers who undoubtedly changed my life. I'd like to say, thank you to my friends, family, and teachers for your support and all that you've taught me. I am the person I am today because of you.

Alexander Burgess, Herriman High School.

The last three months have forced us all to learn and teach in new ways. As third quarter midterms hit, we thought we had the end of senior year figured out. We knew how to pass all of our classes with the minimum amount of work necessary. And we were looking forward to a little bit of inaction after four long years of action. Then plans changed and we had to figure out how to graduate without actually being in school. It may have taken us 12 years of learning to get here, but we did it as we go forward. I want to join with my fellow Mustangs as we give a hundred percent to every action we undertake. I wish you all the best. I am excited to see where we will all end up because I know that it will be greater than where we are now.

Our futures have unlimited potential for greatness. We are all going to be able to be the helpers, the activists, the people who are passionate about something in their lives. We are all going to be able to achieve an incredible amount in our lives because we will know that it is only when we take action for what is right. That we are able to change the world for the people around us, live so that even as you face the risks of taking action, you know that the world and future that you are making is one that you are proud of. You are all destined to live a life worth remembering.

And now part of McKay Nixon's speech from Mountain Ridge High School.

So 2020, this is the day we've been waiting for for the past 13 years. And while it's not at all that we expected it to be, we still have a reason to celebrate. I mean, we have officially completed 13 years of schooling. Even more, we survived two and a half months of online schooling which at least for me has been the hardest part of the year. When I realized we would not be able to complete our high school experience in person, I started to think about the events that have led us to where we are today. We, the Class of 2020, were born at a time of national, if not international distress as a world tried to come to terms with what happened on 911. Then a year later in 2002, Salt Lake held the Olympic games and people from all over the world came together once again from this. we also got our beloved Olympic oval where several of us have gone and made memories during a dance day or a fun night with friends and family. In 2005, YouTube was founded and not only has this been a wonderful source of procrastination for us, it's led the world to realize that you can get paid for doing just about anything. In 2008, Barack Obama made history, as less than a century before it would have been fathomable to think a person of color would or even could become the President of the United States. This has taught us to dream big and not listen to anything society tells us. Fast forward to 2012 and the world didn't end, even though the Mayan calendar said it would. From this we learn to live every day as if it were a last. In 2013, the Boston Marathon was bombed. Again, another event that sent America into distress. Then when we were in ninth grade, the political world was a mess. It was 2016 in Clinton and Trump ran for President. Pretty certain all anyone talked about this year was the wall. 2017 brought us worry as this year was deemed a year of disaster, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires seem to be occurring all over the world at an exponential rate, creating a demand for humanitarian aid. Now we graduate over video as a world is again in distress. It's only June in 2020 has already left its mark from the Australia wildfires. Trump's impeachment trial, the death of NBA star, Kobe Bryant, the Olympics being postponed to next summer and American schools moving to online learning. It's safe to say that this year is not at all what we expected. It may even seem unfair. And some of you may even have feelings of anxiety and distress as you wonder what the future holds.

It's true that we don't always have control over the events that happen in our lives, or even the ability to change the past. But every day we have the chance to change what the overall picture of our future looks like. As we move on from high school, whether that be to college, trade school, serving a mission or wherever life takes you, you will have to make the choice every day to either work towards your goals or be stagnant and stay where you are. And it's not going to be easy. But if high school has taught me anything, it's that the best things in life only come after hard work and dedication. That in a few crying sessions, when you just don't understand life, never hurt. To Mountain Ridges first ever graduating class, I wish you the very, very, very best of luck and wherever life takes you, I hope you remember to leave a legacy wherever you go. Like we did this!

Riverton High School

My name is Jacob Smith, and it has been my honor to serve as Riverton High School, Senior Class President this year. On behalf of the Class of 2020 and the senior class officers, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for the administration, faculty and staff of Riverton High School for all that they have done for us throughout the last three years. They have spent countless hours teaching us, pushing us to succeed and helping us to have a positive, fun, high school experience. Their hard work has truly helped us to grow, both as students and as people. I was hoping to spend the last few months of my senior year doing what I live for, making memories with my friends. Sadly in early March of this year, the efforts to contain a global pandemic required schools to close for the remainder of the school year. Like all of us, I was devastated by this news and I didn't want to believe it.

Many of the aspects of senior year that I was the most excited about, things like prom, watching spring sports and Senior Dinner Dance were gone in the blink of an eye. These were the very moments that I believed I would live for as my senior year drew to a close. Suddenly all the excitement I felt for the future was replaced by fear. All of us have felt afraid or frustration as many of the moments we've dreamed about have been cancelled or postponed. Many of us have experienced even deeper fears as we worry about our parents' jobs and the health of our loved ones. We didn't want to worry about all this. All we wanted to do was look forward to our future and celebrate everything our Riverton family had accomplished during high school. For most of us, the hardest aspect of these circumstances is the feeling that the world is cold and doesn't care about us.

It can feel like when we were just figuring out what we wanted to do with our lives, the world put our plans on ice. We fear a world that is cold and unfeeling because that is not the world we knew at Riverton High School. At Riverton High School, we knew a world where people offered a seat at their lunch table to strangers who looked lonely at Riverton High School. We knew a world where people helped each other with classes. They struggled in at Riverton High School. We knew a world where the entire Riverton family supported each other during games, performances, and concerts. Above all. at Riverton High School, we knew a world where people were devoted to service. As the world struggles with economic and public health crisis, it is up to our generation to solve them. It could be our generation that cures this virus. It could be our generation that injects new life into a struggling economy. It could be our generation that reminds the world about the importance of hope and optimism during uncertain times.

Haley McCarthy, West Jordan High School.

Our senior year feels incomplete and it's not fair. But life is not fair. And who knows that better than us being the first seniors ever to lose the Spirit Bowl? I would end this by saying it's a great day to be a Jaguar. But after this, many of us will become Thunderbirds, Cougars, Trailblazers, and many more. However, once a Jaguar, always a Jaguar Jag. I can't thank you enough for these past three years and for making many memories of me that I will cherish forever. I love you. I'm beyond grateful for you. And I wish you all the best of luck as we go create more firsts in the next stages of our lives.

Lacy Works, West Jordan High School.

Yes, our year ended early, but as we are sad, we are the hope and the light and the leaders of the future. Not only do we provide hope for the future, but we provide hope for the whole world. Wayne Gretzky said,"You miss a hundred percent of the shots you don't take." I know for me that over these three years, I wish I'd taken more shots where we have our whole lives ahead of us. Chris Diehard wrote a letter to high school seniors, and in this letter he says, "Let's be abundantly clear. You were robbed and it's unfair. If you're upset, then you shouldn't embrace those feelings. Some folks will downplay the situation because they won't know what it's like to have their senior year stripped. At the last moment, I for one will not downplay. It has happened to me." He was robbed due to Hurricane Katrina and we were robbed because of a world pandemic. This won't stop the Class of 2020. We are strong, but stronger together. We are full of light shining brighter together. We will get through this and we'll show the world who we are.

Next, Katrina Wick, West Jordan High.

Well, I know it's not exactly what we thought the state would look like. I don't think any of us in our craziest dreams have imagined that we would be isolated from one another. And one of the most important days of our young lives. I know it's not what we expected. It would be easy to take the path of disappointment, sadness and maybe even anger. I know I have felt these emotions. I have all thought of the heartache of missing special moments that we could have had, should have had. But we have made the choice to be the light in a time of darkness. We've been loved and supported by our family, friends, administration, and even strangers. We've been checking in on each other, lifting each other up and simply being there for one another. When we come together as a community, we are resilient, strong and brave. We will take disappointment and gain the strength to overcome obstacles in our path. We will take sadness and channel its energy into courage, and we will take anger and turn it into love for one another. We can and will do this and so much more. We will look back on this difficult time and know it helped make us the outstanding individuals that we are.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now, Scarlet Hope McCullough, Valley High

Congratulations Class of 2020. I would like to start off by thanking our administrators and teachers. Without any of you. None of us would be standing here. Now to my family, I would like to thank you for standing by my side when I didn't think I could make it and encouraging me when needed. To my peers, I thank you for being so loving and accepting towards one another, no matter our differences. This is the first step in the journey of our lives. One we've worked hard for, and the hard work did not come easy. But graduation is not the end of our journey. Instead, it's the beginning of our future. The things we have learned here will help pave the way for our future achievements. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. We've all taken the first step towards triumphant success.

Emily Rhodes, Valley High School

Our path in life isn't always a straight one. We might stumble from time to time or even veer off course a little bit. But the important thing is that we pick ourselves back up and get back on our journey. I feel as though this is what all of us students did. We chose to keep fighting by going to this amazing school. Valley High School's graduating Class of 2020 should be known for their resilience, because despite the school having to close down and us students having to continue our education at home, we still fought for ourselves and the privilege to be here today. We should definitely be proud of ourselves for making it this far. But we couldn't have done it without our amazing support systems. I would like to say thank you to all the family members, friends, and everyone else who served as a support system for us. We have the family that we were  fortunate enough to be born into and the family that we find later on in life. And like me, you might be lucky enough to have both. I know that I definitely wouldn't have been able to do this without the support of my immediate family throughout the years. I also couldn't have made it without the family that I chose. Sam, Stacy and Brooklyn. So thank you to both of my families, for all the love, support, wisdom, and advice you have given me. Without all of you, I feel like I'd be in a completely different situation. I would also like to thank all of the faculty and staff here at Valley, for everything you have done to guide us here. You have all made an impact in our lives, one way or another. And it is because of you that Valley feels more like a second home to us rather than just another high school.

Anthony Godfrey:
And here's Kimmy Hanson speaking at the graduation ceremony for South Valley, a school that focuses on early work and independent living skills for middle and high school students with special needs.

Hi, I'm Kimmy. I like going to South Valley School. We learned a lot on our journey to graduation. We have benefited from the tremendous positive influence of faculty, family, and friends who are cheering you on today. Don't forget to thank them for the help they've given you along the way through your high school years. Particularly this last semester, you have overcome many obstacles, enjoyed wonderful triumphs, and been surprised by the abilities you have found within yourself. May you carry forward what you have learned and continue to achieve great things in your life.

Thank you for joining us for a special edition of the Supercast, honoring the graduates  of 2020. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today.

And now we leave you with Mandy Pond from Valley high School playing her rendition of "You've Got a Friend in Me".

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