Under cloudy skies on May 23, 31 proud graduates marched into the Whitehorse High School gymnasium in Montezuma Creek to the Pomp and Circumstance under the direction of Utah Teacher of the Year band teacher Kim Schaefer.
Brian Dixon conducted the graduation and IEC president Tully Jones gave the invocation.
Austin Billie, 2009-2010 Miss Broken Trail Princess, sang the National Anthem and Ashelee Silversmith and Samantha Guerra welcomed the audience.
Salutatorian Joshua John spoke and Samantha Guerra introduced the Keynote speaker, Leo Platero.
Leo was one of the original art teachers ago when Whitehorse opened its door in 1978. Only the head cook, Betty Norton, remains at the school from that historic era.
The Sheepherder began his keynote address: “The other day in the Whitehorse kitchen, a small prayer was taped to the office wall.
“It read, ‘Dear God, So far I have done all right. I haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overly indulgent. But Lord, I am going to get out of bed and from then on I probably going to need a lot of help.’”
Four character challenges were offered to the studens, including, 1. Be honest, 2. Be self reliant, 3. Be clean 4. Be grateful.
Be honest with yourself and others. When you are honest in every way, you build strength of character that allows you to be of great service to others.
You will know with a peace of mind and self respect that you are honest. When you are honest you will be trusted by your friends, your boss and others. Dishonesty hurts you and usually hurt others as well. When you lie, steal, shoplift or cheat you damage yourself and become less able to do good things.
Be honest in your job, giving a full amount of work for your pay. Don’t rationalize that wrong is right even though many people around you may think there is no harm in being dishonest. Being honest requires courage and committment to do what you know is right.
Be Self Reliant and live within your means. When tempted ask yourself, “Is it a want or a need? Save 10 percent of your earning for a rainy day. Your car might need a transmission, if you have the money to pay for it it is a great feeling. If you are self reliant and avoid debt, resources can be accumulated.
Be Clean and stay away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Dependence on alcohol is both a physical dependence as well as a psychological needs for its effects, dispite the harm it may cause you, your family, friends and work.
Be Grateful to your parents, teachers and remember where your great heritage, your language and culture. Write a thank you note to your teachers and it will mean so much to them.
Be nice to nerds -chances are you will end up working for one and if you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss, advice from Bill Gates.
The graduates sat patiently and couldn’t wait to get their diplomas and get out of school to their big parties that are planned for them, not to mentions the gifts.
Graduates include Emilio J. Begay, Josiah J. Begay, Pierce J. Benally Jr., Syphelia C. Benally, Lytoya K. Benn, Duerson J. Billie, Lashell Goggeshell, Areland A. Dennison, Adrian D. Dickson, Eugina Etsitty, Samantha Guerra, Titania L. Hamm, Randall V. Haskan, Joshua John, Latisha A. John, Kirshuana J. John, Brian Johnson, Ornida L. Jones, Loleta A. Lansing, Jaran Martin, Melisha T. Nakai, Jonathan D. Nelson, Raycena Sam, Ashlee E. Silversmith, Katarzyna . Smallcanyon, Charmaine M. Toney, Kenny Whitehair, Keithley J. Whitehat, Tannabah E. Williams, Alonzo Yazzie, and Janathan W. Yazzie.
Principal John Fahey presented the graduates, and school board member Elsie Dee accepted the graduates. The graduates went out to the practice field for cake and water.