Eyes were teary, hearts were excited and full, and brains were — NOT being munched on by an infestation of zombies. Last week, another class of happy seniors graduated.
Some shed tears. Some felt pride. Some fretted about the future. Yet, as valedictorian Emily Price put it, no matter if the world ends tomorrow in a zombie apocalypse, just “Do what you want” and “Be passionate ... about life!”
Cars and pedestrians overflowed the Payson High School campus Thursday evening as 150 high school seniors prepared to graduate. Excitement filled the air as the students walked down from the dome to the football field, surrounded on either side by family and friends and the teachers and classmates who helped them through.
“It wasn’t so much where we were or
what we were doing,” said high school graduate and honors student Tanner Hintze, “it was the people ... that made (the experience at Payson High School) so good.”
Valedictorian and graduation speaker Annette Utz expressed her gratitude to classmates, teachers and family. She encouraged her classmates to not just blend in with the rest of the crowd, this should not be a person's main goal. The focus really should be on developing your character and intellect, so that when you do express yourself, it is the best version of yourself and is something that is truly meaningful to others. This will not only define how others see you, but how you see yourself as well, she said.
Utz’s advice was, “Truly live. Chase your dreams. Create a habit of working towards what is meaningful.”
Many students also received honors and more than $750,000 in scholarships. Several students, including those who joined the NAVIT program, graduated with high school and college degrees. Many won scholarships from universities and local businesses, foundations or clubs.
Nisha Edwin, graduate and honors
student, plans to attend Biola University since she received the BIOLA scholarship. Marily Ridings, graduate and honors student, plans to attend Northern Arizona University after receiving the Dean’s Scholarship. Chelsea Frewin, graduate and honors student, will pursue her degree in elementary education at Arizona Christian University. Frewin also received a Provost Scholarship and Firestorm Award. Hintze is going on a two-year mission for his church.
Mostly, this year’s graduates feel prepared for the future. They have been encouraged to follow their dreams and find what remains truly meaningful. They shouldn’t let anything stop them, whether it is money, lack of passion, or even a zombie apocalypse.
As Price said, “Be crazy about something ... start running now ... do more than exist ... do what you want.”
Way to go PHS graduates of 2013!