EVANSTON — Horizon High School held its 2021 graduation ceremony outdoors in front of the facility on Thursday, May 27, at 6 p.m. Seventeen graduating seniors marched up the sidewalk to their places at the front of a large crowd of family members and teachers.
Principal Shad Hamilton presented the graduating class of 2021, welcomed the families attending and announced the academic award winners: Valedictorian Destiny Rasmussen, Salutatorian Maggie Tomlinson, Virtual Program Valedictorian Mackala Turner and Virtual Program Salutatorian Ethan Grasse.
Rasmussen and Tomlinson each gave a short speech and thanked the teachers at Horizon for helping them succeed. They each encouraged their fellow students to continue to learn and grow and succeed in their chosen careers and in life.
Chosen by the graduates to give the keynote address, teacher Candi DeCoite referred to the school’s mascot, the phoenix.
“The phoenix is a bird written into many mythologies that regenerates or is born again from the ashes of its death. Fresh beginnings — a perfect mascot for a Horizon student. By choosing to come to Horizon, for whatever reason you had, you chose that fresh beginning and persevered through to the end.”
Decoite spoke directly to the graduates and encouraged them to face life like the phoenix and continue to overcome trials and gain the lessons life brings. She encouraged them to follow their dreams, listen to the voice inside themselves, to always be kind and learn from the people they encounter and become the best person they can be.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Be the phoenix inside you and fly. Fly high!” Decoite said.
Following the speeches, Principal Hamilton recognized the recipients of scholarships and special awards. Destiny Rasmussen and Ethan Grasse each received the Hathaway Scholarship-Provisional Opportunity Level. Aiden Brown earned the CTE (career and technical education) Certification-OSHA 10.
It was announced that Rasmussen plans to join the National Guard.
During the certification of the diplomas, Uinta County School District No. 1 Assistant Superintendent Doug Rigby reflected on his personal history of having started the alternative school many years ago.
“I have a special connection with Horizon,” Rigby said, “and 17 years ago, I hired this young girl to teach English, and she is leaving us now after all these years. Kim Lahm, you will be missed.”
As each graduate walked up to the stage to receive his or her diploma, Superintendent Ryan Thomas and Rigby congratulated them, Horizon secretary Vicky Lester handed out diplomas and Hamilton also congratulated them. Each student turned to face the crowd and proudly displayed his or her diploma while camera shutters clicked.
The ceremony ended with the graduating students’ chosen class song, “We are the Champions” by Queen.