It wasn't an average graduation.

There were no caps or gowns. The ceremony was held in the borrowed Spanish Fork High cafeteria, not a plush auditorium. Someone forgot to cook the meal's main course, so it was late. And an 18-by-26-inch cake was decorated with the names of the entire graduating class, with room to spare.But Landmark High isn't an average school.

Landmark is a school for students who do not fit into the regular school system for one reason or another. Some have started careers, some have started families, some need to work from home; all need flexibility.

All 14 seniors overcame greater-than-average obstacles to earn their diplomas.

"My parents thought I would never graduate," Ryan Bellows said. "I even wondered if I'd get here. But the teachers taught me self-esteem, and they were really good friends."

Monica Wilde, another graduating senior, read a poem she had written to thank her teachers and tease them at the same time.

"If I should sluff or goof around, don't tell Don (Don Jones, principal) I went to town. I'm ready for the future and all life may bring. Thank you, Landmark High School, for everything."

Bellows and Wilde were each named as exceptional students and presented governor's awards sent by Gov. Norm Bangerter. Wilde has also won a $500 Elks scholarship, which she will use this fall at Utah Valley Technical College.

Maurine Hiatt, Nebo District School Board member, spoke on the importance of a good attitude.

"Whether you are successful in life or not depends on you," she said. "If you lose your enthusiasm, the only one it hurts is you."

Jones described Landmark's mission.

"We try to provide each student with the opportunity for success at home, school and job. And the graduating students have taken the opportunity."

Students then received their diplomas as a teacher read a one-minute speech on each one's strengths and accomplishments.

In addition to Bellows and Wilde, graduating seniors were Jason Stanton, Shere' Susanne Root, Lonny Lopez, Dennie Linch, Alice Landsaw, Richard Harding, Bonnie Lynn Hamel, Amy Gardner, Laura Hubbard, Shantell Boyack, Joshua Bobo and Lisa Bellows. (See additional graduations on Page A18).