The Payson High School Class of 2004 is, as you might expect, diverse -- one might even call them "motley."
Motley in a good way, mind you. Motley in the Payson way.
I base this conclusion on incontrovertible evidence. And if you don't know what "incontrovertible" means, Class of 2004, you may turn your diplomas in at the door.
Anyway, my incontrovertible evidence is the responses the Class of 2004 made to questions asked on the new, improved, streamlined senior survey -- a one-page form designed to find out what, if anything, the Class of 2004 learned during its collective high school years.
Of 195 seniors, 109 filled out the senior survey -- a hearty 56 percent rate of return. Even more encouraging, 82 of them, or 75 percent, indicated they planned to go on to college next year.
Of the 25 percent who said they did not intend to pursue a higher education, at least immediately, 12 plan to enter the military, seven plan to go to work, one plans to get married, and four don't have a clue what they're going to do.
Yes, math geeks, that leaves three seniors unaccounted for. They were intentionally held back for a reason.
Their answers were so, shall we say, "unique," that school authorities have decided to rescind their diplomas. Seriously, their answers were so "unique" that we thought we would feature them separately right here and now.
One senior plans to "skate" next year. In my time, that meant doing pretty much nothing. One senior, obviously tired of being told what to do, plans to "rule an island." And the third probably has the best idea of all. He's going fishing.
Another question we asked the Class of 2004 was to tell us the most valuable lesson learned during their senior year.
I have selected a few of the more enlightening responses for your edification:
"Love what you do." -- Kyle Fogarty
"Keep your friends because you will never know when you will need them the most." -- Joshua Szabo
"What is truly yours cannot be taken away from you." -- Billy Pearson
"Go with the flow." -- Lauren Bartoli
All valid lessons learned, you will agree. And then there were the following -- At first glance, a splendid display of motleyness, but read deep and you will find wisdom here as well:
"Don't annoy the fat guy." -- Adam Munson
"Don't ditch on busy days. You'll get in a wreck." -- Candace Wells
Another question we posed to your senior class was what advice they would leave those who follow in their footsteps -- the underclassmen. Again, there was pithy advice like this:
"Enjoy the time you have and stay as long as you can because it goes fast." -- Chad Lofquist
And a couple that, while motley, would be hard to argue with:
"Life is a garden. Dig it." -- Alex Vlahopoulos
"Don't (tick) people off. Don't be retarded." -- Brian Matheson
And last but not least, we put the Class of 2004 to the ultimate test. Now that they have completed high school, what are their "famous last words."
This is where the tassels hit the forehead -- where it all comes together in a final opportunity to express the sum total of their school experience in a few succinct, but memorable words.
How did your senior class do? Judge for yourself:
"‘If you want to lead the orchestra, you must turn your back on the crowd.' (Anonymous)" -- Lauren Bartoli
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift in its hands. See the good in everything." -- Billy Pearson
"‘Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent what you make of it.' (quoting Mr. Roger Rohrbach)" -- Adrianna Curtis
"Life is not a spectator sport." -- Billy Hoyt
"Remember, not all who wander are lost." -- Lindsay Lashbrook
"So be yourself." -- Nathan Keith
From the above, the Class of 2004 would appear both stable and centered. From the following, you might have second thoughts. But again, read between the lines and you will find some rare insights amidst the humor and cynicism:
"Carpe diem, which means ‘to seize the carp,' I think." -- Brian Paap
"Famous last words? What are words?" -- Bryon Jones
"It's not what you know. It's who you know." -- Amy Wilcox
"Live fast. Die young. Leave a beautiful corpse." -- Neysa Forgey
"Remember me, because one day I'll be in the big leagues." -- Ashton Shewey
And my personal favorite:
"Nuts." -- Tyler Danielson
So, ladies and gentlemen of the Rim country, what have we wrought with this, the Class of 2004? I don't know about you, but I like these guys. A bit motley, but certainly an honest reflection of the community that produced them -- and that's all of us.
And most important, I like their chances out there in the real world. I think they'll do us proud.
Just be on the lookout for those problems bearing gifts in their hands.