The Class of '88, full of hope, full of energy, is about to be turned loose on the world. We talked to seven of them.
These students were chosen not because they are "typical" students, nor because they are student body presidents or graduating first in their class. We chose to talk to these particular students because they enjoyed high school and are excited about what comes next. In that respect perhaps they are "typical" of the Class of '88.Nearly the whole Ivy League wanted Zachary Guevera. Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania. The Rowland Hall-St. Mark's senior sent out 10 college applications last fall and got 10 acceptances this spring. Zach chose Harvard. He will start there after working this summer as an intern for both Sen. Orrin Hatch and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, D.C.
During this past year at Rowland Hall he was editor of the school paper and was on the tennis team - and made the state tennis quarterfinals. And of course he read a lot. An only child, he says he turned early on to books for companionship and insight.
Zach is a blend of activism and introspection, a fan of both sports and Sartre. He says he can see himself ending up as a professor, or maybe being involved in politics. In the past few years, he says, he has become more interested in his Mexican-American heritage.
Whatever is in Zach's future, it will probably happen somewhere other than Utah. "When I leave," he says, "it's unlikely I'm going to come back."
From a strictly opthalomological standpoint, Heather Smith sees the world as if she were driving through a violent rainstorm without windshield wipers. Because she was born with congenital glaucoma that has left one eye blind and the other severely impaired, her visual world does not extend beyond the few feet immediately in front of her.
But in all other respects, Heather's world is bright and clear. She graduates June 7 after three successful and active years at Brighton High, and plans to enter Brigham Young University in the fall as a psychology major.
Although the blackboard always loomed in the fuzzy distance and she had to literally have her nose in her books in order to read them, Heather graduates with a 3.7 GPA. Her high school years have been filled with cheerleading, drill team performances, jogging and dating. She felt bad when all her friends began driving at 16, but she doesn't really have the time or the inclination to feel sorry for herself. Her sense of humor sees her through the hard times.
"I've never seen a bug," she says with a smile. "That's one good thing."
Angie Van Wyngaarden has spent the last three years helping other teenagers understand themselves. A member of West High's improv troup, Self- Incorporated, she has portrayed typical teens working their way through an intimidating list of typical problems - drinking, drugs, sex and abuse.
Yesterday she received a Readers Digest scholarship as the student who did the most to encourage her peers not to mix drinking and driving.
Class president in her junior year, Angie became a reporter and anchor on WHTV, the school's television station, so she could get messages across more effectively to her electorate. Active in school plays, including the lead last fall in "Up The Down Staircase," Angie plans to minor in drama at the University of Utah. Her major will be psychology, and she hopes to eventually get a Ph.D.
She foresees using role-playing in her psychology practice to help her patients find answers. From her experience with Self-Incorporated she knows that "When emotions get involved in problems, solutions are not always clear."
Ken Smith says he tries to avoid the "stuffy" aspects of science. When he was invited to enter a project in the Intermountain Science Symposium earlier this year, the Olympus High senior decided to study the impulse reaction of bouncing rubber balls.
Before entering BYU in the fall, Ken will be off to China, where he will get a first-hand look at how the Chinese live and how they study physics. He was chosen as one of about 100 students nationwide to participate in a People to People Foundation exchange. He is earning money for the trip by helping his dad digitize circuits for the Jet Propulsion Lab. He is also hoping to find a few corporate sponsors.
At Olympus, Ken sang with the Vocal Ensemble and in two school musicals. He prefers Broadway to classical, and high energy particle physics to anything else he can imagine working at for the rest of his life. He plans to get a Ph.D. and eventually to be a college professor.
`I've set some goals for my life. Fantasy goals, that's how I think of them. And the main one is: I've always dreamed of going to Broadway."
For Paula Hansen, Murray High, graduation means it's time to act out the fantasy. She has the talent. Having been in her school's musicals each year, as well as in three dramatic plays, Paula got up the courage to audition for the American Academy of the Dramatic Arts in Pasadena. She was accepted.
However, BYU also beckons. It's closer, less expensive, and there she could study business as well as theater. Is business a fantasy goal? "No. But if I can't make it on Broadway I'll have word-processing to fall back on."
Tomorrow, she has to tell the academy if she's coming. The man she's dating and her mother (`I'm her youngest child; she wants to keep her eye on me") are lobbying hard for BYU. Paula's high school counselor desperately wants her to go to the academy. "She says she even dreams about it." But what about Paula herself?
She longs to make her first adult step a big one. "If I had the money, I'd be in California now."
Her earliest Memories are of being fascinated by the stars. When she was 12, Becky Uhlig came to her father and explained that she was going to be an astronaut and asked him to help her map out a course of study. If they scoffed at first, her parents, teachers and friends are now convinced.
The Taylorsville senior leaves for the Air Force Academy this fall.
Her enthusiasms are many. She has put her heart into sports, singing, art, seminary, student government and writing. She wrote her first sonnet the day the Challenger burned. She plans to become a writer, in fact, when she's 40 and "my body is falling apart and I'm a has-been astronaut."
One quarter Becky decided to become a scholar. She quit her job and extracurricular fun and got the 4.0 that had eluded her. The next quarter, though, she chose to be involved again and let her grades drop back to a 3.8. "It doesn't work to segregate yourself," she says. "I do my best on very little sleep and no time."
Becky's plans include a Ph.D. and having a husband and children to share her wonder at life.
This fall, James Cordova, Judge Memorial High, will be playing football for Gavalin College in California. When spelling the name of his new school, James sometimes transposes the letters. He has dyslexia.
But he no longer lets that stand in his way.
All through elementary and junior high school, James was several years behind in reading. He was put in special classes and given extra help. He became an athlete - and a class clown.
"Then I came to Judge and I got Sister Ignacio for math," he says. "She shaped me up. She used the analogy of football - which was the only thing I was interested in. She made me tell her what I'd have to do to succeed at football. I said, `Work hard. Stay after everyone else has gone and work some more.' She told me school was the same way. Life was the same way. She said I had to learn to rely on myself."
James' grades rose from a 2.4 to a 2.9 average that year. His senior year he has made the honor roll every quarter. Now he hopes for a career in sports medicine.