Teachers, students offer advice
Monday and Tuesday evenings were a time for families to watch Green River's senior high school students in the age-old tradition of graduation.
Monday, seniors from Green River High School received their diplomas, while Tuesday was reserved for Expedition Academy's graduating class. According to Phil Harder, EA's graduation speaker and math teacher at the school, the tradition dates back more than 3,000 years to ancient Greece. While the event itself dates back to ancient times, both students and teachers used the ceremonies to instill some final nuggets of wisdom into the graduating classes.
Harder will move to GRHS in the coming fall and gave what he described as his final lecture for EA. In his speech, Harder gave four pieces of advice to the students, telling them to thank their supporters, celebrate their success, pass it on and to understand the power of story in a person's life.
Harder said the graduates were supported throughout their lives by a number of family members, friends and others and helped them achieve their graduation goals. He said students should thank their supporters and celebrate the success the achieved.
However, Harder also told students to help others out along the way, passing that support and their knowledge on.
For his final point, he said students can use their life stories to benefit others, but warned them against using their stories as a crutch and excuse for the difficult moments they may face in their lives. To drive his point home, Harder told a short story about the Bank of Time and how it gives a person 86,400 seconds each day to spend as the person wants. He said if people receive $86,400 in cash each day, in an account that would zero out the remaining balance at the end of the day and start fresh with the same amount each morning, people would spend every penny of that amount. Like the money in his story, Harder said people should use each second they have to the fullest, because they cannot borrow time and it doesn't carry over a balance at the end of the day.
At GRHS, teacher Colt Klements gave a few bits of advice as well. He said at the end of the week, he always tells students to have a good weekend, make good decisions and make sure to brush their teeth. In regards to brushing teeth, Klements told students a smile has a lot of power, including offering home, lighten a heavy load and soften stone walls. He said graduates will face a number of decisions in the coming days and weeks, some of which can have a lasting impact on their lives. He suggests people seek advice for the tougher decisions and always think it through before making a choice. Finally, despite all difficulties that can be present throughout life, Klements said graduates should make time to have fun and should strive to find a balance between professional time and leisure time. He also said people have the power to change their situations at any time.
"If you're unhappy, do something about it," he said.
Students also offered their takes on what graduation means, as well as the path it took to make it to their ceremony. GRHS graduate Kayla Gibson told students they wouldn't have made the journey without all the guiding hands that helped them throughout their lives. She said they shouldn't take the moment for granted, as it means they're entering the adult world with the power to influence their surroundings.
"We are adults and we can change the future," she said.
Despite that power and responsibility, Gibson said they still have a lot of growing and learning to do and concluded by saying they should grow up, face the future and cross the bridge into adulthood.
At EA, graduate Jakob Hart said the school isn't the school for criminals and "bad kids" as everyone says it is. He started at the school during his junior year after taking some time to care for his father with ALS. His father died Jan. 6, 2015 and said he would have normally skipped school the following days, but went back to EA the next day because he knew he would get support from EA's staff, especially thanking the school's media support specialist Ashlee Swett.
"If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be talking to you," Hart said.