23 locals celebrated at BOCES graduation

Students who earned degrees from various schools, facilitated by Uinta BOCES No. 1, stand on the stage at Davis Middle School on Saturday, May 21, as BOCES director Mike Williams speaks. (HERALD PHOTO/Hayden Godfrey)

EVANSTON — Twenty-three locals who earned diplomas and degrees were honored on Saturday, May 21, when Uinta BOCES No. 1 held its graduation at Davis Middle School.

Students graduating included one from Western Wyoming Community College, seventeen from high school equivalency programs, three from Ready to Work programs and two from the National Center for Educational Research (NCCER) and industrial safety training.

The ceremony began with a processional tune, played by Sara Maisey of the Evanston Civic Orchestra and Chorus, and a welcome speech by BOCES Executive Director Mike Williams.

BOCES foundation board member and former mayor Joy Bell acted as the opening speaker, thanking BOCES for facilitating her distance education through Utah State University.

“Life is often about upping your game and achieving goals so that you can dream and embrace different aspirations, and creating the life you so desire,” Bell said. “Don’t be stifled by the fear of failing; there are far worse things in life.”

Bell was followed to the podium by BOCES Assistant Director and Adult Basic Education instructor Sheila McGuire, who praised the students’ accomplishments. McGuire acknowledged the difficulties her graduates had faced in their education.

“Learning opens up new worlds, it takes you places you may not expect, and it oftentimes allows you to surprise yourself,” McGuire said. “There’s really nothing that compares with that feeling of when you surprise yourself by accomplishing something you didn’t think you could do.”

She proceeded to thank all of the BOCES staff for contributing to the event, and concluded by telling everyone in attendance to pursue their dreams, and never stop learning.

Lance Norris of the NCCER gave a brief description of his program and congratulated its graduates. BOCES valedictorian Megan VanVleet offered a speech on behalf of her graduating class, thanking the BOOST program for her success and theirs.

Williams returned to stage and recounted the history of the BOOST program, describing its inspiration by low graduation percentages in typical GED programs, including the one which preceded it; citing its ninety percent success rate and lauding Adult Education Coordinator Diane White and instructor Carol Bourland for their devotion. Williams finished his remarks by thanking White for her service in light of her impending retirement.

Awards were bestowed by Williams and McGuire to graduates of all programs for attendance, academic performance and attitude in class. McGuire and Williams presented diplomas, and names were read by BOCES board chair Dan Wheeler. The ceremony concluded with a recessional played by Maisey.

After the ceremony, VanVleet said, “BOOST was a great program. I think it was really amazing — the variety of people from different backgrounds working towards the same goal and achieving it.” She said of Bourland, “Carol was a great teacher. I loved her. She was really fun and supportive.”

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