HHS holds graduation

By Kayne Pyatt, Herald Reporter
Posted 6/12/24

EVANSTON — The sun shone brightly the morning of May 31, as 14 seniors walked in a procession to take their places in front of a crowd of parents, family, friends and staff during this …

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HHS holds graduation


EVANSTON — The sun shone brightly the morning of May 31, as 14 seniors walked in a procession to take their places in front of a crowd of parents, family, friends and staff during this year’s Horizon High School graduation. The graduation ceremony took place outdoors in front of the school building.

When all the seniors were seated, principal Bren Payne welcomed everyone and asked that all stand for the pledge. He then addressed the graduates and the audience.

“Welcome to the parents and all who have come this morning,” Payne said. “One of the definitions of a parent is one who nurtures, cares for and protects another. So, all of you who are gathered here to celebrate with these students are parents and I thank you.”

To graduates, Payne said their journey toward this day had started many years ago, and he had just started as their principal this year. He told them he was proud to have been a part of their journey.

“As you write your own story, be proud of what you have accomplished,” Payne told the graduates. “Go on to make the world a better place and it will make your life better.”

Payne thanked Uinta County School District No. 1 Superintendent Ryan Thomas and Assistant Superintendent Doug Rigby for participating and then he thanked all of the teachers and staff whom he had asked to sit together in front next to the stage. Payne then introduced valedictorian Justin Dean Perez, whom he said was a student that allowed others to thrive and shine and was a true learner.

Perez thanked everyone in attendance and then talked about his experiences at Horizon.

“Horizon offered me a second chance to perform after I left EHS. It is a community, the teachers and staff make it a great place to learn,” Perez said. “I appreciate this class and I wish them all luck. It’s been a good year. And to my mom, who can’t be here, a special thank you. She would have been so happy on this day. To my family, I love you, and thank you for being here.”

History teacher Arne Hengesteg spoke next. He said education was not just about gaining knowledge but it was about building relationships, both in school and out of school. He asked those in the audience who were there as a parent or relative of a graduate to raise their hands; then he asked anyone who had been a mentor or teacher for one of the graduates to raise their hands; and lastly anyone who came as a friend or acquaintance of a graduate to raise their hand. By then everyone had raised their hands.

Hengesteg then looked at the graduates and said, “They are all here because they care about you.”

He then asked the graduates to raise their hand if he had taught them for one year, two years or all four years. By then, all the graduates had raised their hands.

“We’ve had good times and bad times, but you have been an inspiration to me. You have valued and respected each other’s opinions,” Hengesteg said. “This year, I noticed you felt a value in those relationships; they are your foundation and support. This includes your family, friends and teachers. Remember, building relationships is about the ability to connect with others. I know we live in a digital world but texting cannot replace a hug. Prioritize real connections. Let kindness and respect be your guiding principles.”

Following Hengesteg’s speech, Chris Weiss played the banjo and sang the song, “Rise Up.”

Salutatorian Angela (Eve) Cote followed Weiss’ musical number with her address.

“I want to give credit to Horizon’s teachers,” Cote said. “They have ignited our curiosity, carried us into the future and given us lessons that will forever strengthen us. We have gone from wide eyes to wide minds and will leave with our hearts full. Look how far we’ve come, and I am glad to see all of us graduating.”

Payne then announced the seniors who had completed and earned CTE (Career and Technical Education) certifications and Hathaway scholarships.

Those receiving Hathaway provisional level scholarships are: Natalie Flyr, Tanner Barker, Tyler Moberley and Justin Dean Perez.

Cote received the OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) General Industry Safety and Health certification.

Moberley and Flyr received the AHLEI (American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute) Hospitality and Tourism certification.

Cote and Flyr received the Serv/Safe Certificate.

Rigby certified the diplomas.

“This school is special to me and a pride to this town,” he said. “It is a model of a professional learning school and is certified as a collaborative school. Horizon does great things for its students.”

Payne then presented the diplomas to each student as they came up on the stage to cheers and loud applause.