(Pavillion, Wyo.) – Wind River High School’s 25 graduates had a rare treat on Sunday afternoon. They had TWO members of the United States Congress be their guest speakers. Senior U.S. Senator Mike Enzi and Wyoming’s lone representative, Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis, both attended and shared bits of wisdom with the grads.
Fremont County School District #6 Superintendent Diana Clapp noted that it had been two decades, at least, since the school had had a guest speaker at graduation. She said the school was “very honored” to have the Senator and Representative attend. In fact, in his remarks to the students, Enzi opined that Cougar Gym might be the only place in the United States today where a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Representative were under the same roof.
In presenting the Class of 2014, Clapp noted that the class was one that had many accomplishments. “You have made a significant contribution not only to your school, but your community and the state as well,” she said. “You held fund raisers for families of students with medical challenges, the hospice program, you’ve done community clean-ups and perhaps most importantly, you lobbied and got passed the school bus safety law for all children in Wyoming,” she said, to applause. “You are leaving Wind River School a better place for your having been here.”
Salutatorian Chelsea Keysaw said her experiences, both in and out of the school building, made her better prepared for the choices facing her. “For success in the future we will have to learn to get along with other people,” she said. “The Class of 2014 is at a moment of great reward. And for your underclassmen out there, I urge you to get involved and break out of your shell. High School is the best time of our lives, and I wish you the best.”
Valedictorian Macayla Arrington said each member of the Class of 2014 would not be here without the support of friends, families and teachers. “We will now go our own ways. We all have different gifts, use them to your advantage,” she said. “Dare to dream and never stop chasing after what you desire, don’t be afraid of failure. We all have the potential to be something great.”
Lummis offered the graduates two bits of advice, on happiness and on Wyoming. “Find out what makes you happy. For me it is my work. The pursuit of happiness is up there with Life and Liberty as our founding fathers wrote,” she said. “Don’t dwell on negatives, do what makes you happy, pursue it with a vengence, and, getting to my second point, I hope you’ll do it in Wyoming. This is a special place in the world. We have the smallest population of all the states, and in Wyoming we want to see each other succeed.” Lummis told the graduates, “we need you. We need our talented young people to be the leaders of the state going forward.”
Enzi asked the grads to “remember this day, you’ve wanted this for your whole life. Today you get to celebrate, and you should really celebrate because the bad news is, tomorrow you start all over again!” The senator recited statistics on how much more money a college graduate earns from those with just a high school diploma, and he urged the class to keep learning. “You’ll have 11 different careers, and I don’t mean jobs, but 11 different careers in your life, and nine of them don’t exist right now. Things are constantly changing. Dream Big. Think big. But more importantly, live within your means,” he said. “It’s something I’m trying to get my colleagues in Congress to do.”
WRHS High School Principal Ceatriss Wall, who was unable to attend graduation because of her sister’s wedding, talked to the class via a video recording and told the graduating seniors how special they were to her and of the high points of their years together.
The class officers came to the podium next to honor a long time Wind River teacher and coach, Dick Quayle, who is retiring this year. Each of the students told a story about Mr. Quayle and how he’s impacted their own lives, and the lives of students at the school for the past 30 years. Quayle received a standing ovation from the assemblage.
Then the diplomas were handed out by Supt. Clapp and FCSD#6 Board Chairman Dan Pince. Each of the students received a personal word from Sen. Enzi and Rep. Lummis, and then joined their classmates after hugs from friends and relatives. When the last student crossed the stage and returned to their class, mortar boards and silly string filled the air and the celebration was on.
See class and graduation photos below the list of graduates:
Photos by Ernie Over. Click to enlarge.