Commencement speaker Leonardo P. Alishan, an associate professor of languages at the University of Utah, told Rowland Hall-St. Mark's High School graduates Saturday they are entering the real world on three levels.
Speaking to 57 graduates at the Cathedral Church of Saint Mark, Alishan said, "First, you are U.S. citizens and you have an obligation to vote. Don't ever take your poetic, majestic Constitution for granted. Then, you are citizens of the world and you have an obligation to the earth itself and to other citizens."Finally, you are adults. You must never compromise your dreams. The world is full of evils and cruelties and you should try to change the world and make it better."
Alishan told the graduates they are young and can make mistakes, "but don't make serious or irreversible mistakes that you will regret for the rest of your life."
And always, he said, "be obligated to your young, beautiful consciences."
Principal Judy Smith told the students they must be experiencing an incredible sense of freedom now that they are graduating. She urged them always to make conscious decisions and to "tune in to the times."
Student Body President Michael Spurgeon recounted many of his experiences at Rowland Hall-St. Marks and said he had learned from his mistakes. He asked his fellow graduates to stick to their principles and not give up.
"Life is a team effort. We have to learn to play together. We can't do everything alone. We have to find a balance. If you work hard and give life 100 percent of yourself, you will win. Always give your best effort and you will be successful," Spurgeon said.
Valedictorian Karyn Easton thanked the school administration and staff and said Rowland Hall-St. Mark's School is small enough "that I have been able to accumulate many meaningful memories - of teachers and students."
She recalled many teachers' good humor and laughter and said the school had enabled students to reach beyond an intellectual education and learn many other important lessons about society and culture.
"All these memories are like the potent articles an ancient Indian might have carried in a bag about his neck - important things to remind him of his life and his experiences."
Life sciences and biology teacher Kathy Miklossy was awarded the annual Patricia McCarthy Sumner Faculty Award for her outstanding contributions to students' education at the school.
Musical selections during the 107th commencement exercises included a clarinet solo by student Branigan Sherman and a guitar solo by English teacher Keller Higbee.
The 57 graduates included 23 young women and 34 young men. Six of the seniors had attended the school since the first grade or earlier. Four are citizens of other countries - two from Japan, one from Yugoslavia and one from Spain.