North Summit School District celebrates 72 new graduates
Purple gowns and caps with rows of flowers lining the stage adorned the North Summit High School auditorium for Monday night’s graduation ceremony.
Pianist and North Summit High School Freshman Daxton Sargent played Pomp and Circumstance as graduating seniors entered the packed auditorium. Many wore ropes, flower lei, and colorful shawls decorating their purple robes.
Salutatorian Brolan Ruf talked about life lessons learned so far, including his advice to look at sunsets because they happen every day.
Valedictorian Alex Ritzman talked about North Summit school spirit and how frequently they’d have more fans during away football games than the home team. He used the phrase “it takes a village,” acknowledging those in the audience and the schools that made their journey safe and supported. He noted his class's efforts to preserve the 100-year-old mascot, a Brave representing the indigenous occupants of the land on which the school now sits.
He said the Brave was chosen in 1926, and with the political changes in society, many schools have put aside mascots representing native culture. He praised his classmates for how they respectfully reached out to the Eastern Shoshone tribal leaders to get their endorsement to continue using the Brave as the North Summit School District mascot.
Keynote speaker and teacher J Anson spoke to the seniors and said he is no longer their teacher but just a guy who cares deeply about their futures. Humor and emotion were woven into his message to graduates with a recitation of the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Invictus means unconquerable in Latin, and with that reading, Anson urged his students to take responsibility for their lives, no matter the circumstance.
“One of the themes that I want to impress upon your mind is, don't feel sorry for yourself. Life isn’t fair. It never will be. It never has been. When we feel sorry for ourselves and we allow other people to feel sorry for us, it cripples our potential. It stops us from being able to be the masters of our fate and the captains of our soul.”
Before handing out diplomas, School Board President Vern Williams urged students to be the best they can be, push and fight for what they believe, and be kind above all.
"Invictus" by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.