Valedictorian Sharon Block and salutatorian Douglas D. Himes represented their eight classmates as speakers Friday at the second annual Salt Lake Lutheran High School graduation ceremonies.
Nine of the school's 10 graduating seniors plan to go on to higher education, Principal Eugene Kolander said. The 1988 graduating class is splitting scholarship money totaling $15,000.Kolander announced the graduates at graduation, while Evelyn Ekstrand, chairwoman of the school's board of directors, awarded diplomas. H. Allen Herbst, executive secretary for parish services for the Rocky Mountain District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, gave the commencement address.
Block and Himes were honored as all-state academic scholar-athletes, Block for volleyball and basketball, and Himes for basketball, Kolander said.
Block expressed gratitude for the religious values entwined with academic studies she has received, saying Christian education has proven to be a positive factor in her life.
"My hope for the future of Salt Lake Lutheran High School and all other Lutheran high schools is that they can be different from public schools, since the love of Christ can be evident each day," Block said.
In her speech, Block talked about the challenge she faced moving from a small rural, Midwestern town and leaving lifelong friends, to live in urban Salt Lake City.
She urged her fellow graduates to meet similar challenges.
"My hope for the seniors and myself is that we can strive to attain our goals in life and remember the One who enabled us to reach those goals.
"Then once we reach those goals, we should search for more. This though coincides with our class motto, which is: `Once you succeed, keep succeeding.' At the same time, we need to give God all the credit for everything that we've accomplished throughout our lives," she said.
Himes took a different approach in his humorous speech. "Due to the strike by the Writers Guild of American, I, Douglas D. Himes, have been forced to prepare my own speech. Please bear with me."
Himes advised his classmates to be honest with their feelings, and to express their feelings to loved ones. He then told jokes about each of his classmates.
He said his mother taught him not to go to bed angry at people, because something could happen to them during the night.
"If I could tell the world one thing, it would be close to what my mom said all those years ago.
"Tell the people you care for how you feel about them today, because tomorrow may be too late. If everyone could do this, the world would be a better place," Himes said.
The Christian school, with a student body of 60, is supported by 10 Lutheran churches in the Salt Lake area. It is one of three Lutheran high schools in the district and one of 100 in the nation. Tuition is $2,600 for non-Lutherans and $2,100 for Lutheran students.