“Instead of looking back, look forward,” commencement speaker Zane Taylor told 114 graduating seniors of Grand County High School’s Class of 2010 on Tuesday evening, May 18. “Live now and for the future. Don’t live in the past… Don’t be afraid to add new chapters to your life.”
Taylor, a 2006 graduate of Grand County High, is now a senior at the University of Utah, where he plays football for the Utes.
“It was only four years ago that I was in your shoes, wearing the same awkward gown and adorning the same odd-looking cap,” Taylor said. “I still remember the emotions that came with graduation.”
During his remarks, Taylor referred to some of his own academic and athletic achievements, and encouraged the students to work hard and make the necessary sacrifices in order to achieve success.
“Something given to you has no value. On the other hand, something earned is priceless,” Taylor said. “Seniors, you only have one chance to live. Do something with your life that you can be proud of. Don’t throw it away. Do not waste the precious time you have here merely idling by.”
Standing in front of a colorful painted mural emblazoned with the senior class’s theme: “The purpose of life is live a life of purpose,” Taylor urged the graduates to “live each day like it’s your last, but live it with a purpose.”
“What it boils down to is live life with as few regrets as possible,” he said, after taking the time to thank several teachers by name.
Earlier in the program, class valedictorian Dallen Dalton spoke of making it through good and bad times throughout school, as he recalled both successes and failures. He defined success as “when you decide to do something, you give it your all.”
“It’s not what you do that matters, it’s how you do,” Dalton said, ending his remarks with a familiar quote from Yoda of Star Wars: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Class salutatorian Audrey Baird startled her classmates by taking out a pair of scissors during her speech and cutting off the distinctive hair braid that she had worn for the past several years.
“It’s time to stop looking at the world the way we’ve always looked at it,” Baird said, encouraging her classmates to change their perspective and look at life with a fresh point of view.
“I’m ready to redefine myself and see the world through new eyes,” she added just before snipping off the long braid.
Two GCHS seniors also performed musical numbers during the hour-long program. Devon Dixon sang “Wrong’s What I Do Best,” while playing the guitar, and Caitlyn Howe sang a number titled “For Good.”
The Sounds Grand school choir also performed a song called “Someday Soon,” and the GCHS band played during the opening and closing processions.
During the event, a handful of GCHS seniors wore “I Love Jack” signs over their gowns, a silent show of support for classmate Jack Osness, who was still serving a 10-day suspension for disciplinary reasons and was unable to attend the commencement ceremony.
Also during the evening, the school’s prestigious “Circle of Honor” award was presented to Sam and Adrien Taylor, longtime editors and current publishers emeritus of Moab’s weekly newspaper, The Times-Independent. Both are alumni of Grand County High, and were recognized for their support of local schools, sports, and educational activities throughout the past 50-plus years.
Sam and Adrien Taylor are also the grandparents of speaker Zane Taylor and his younger brother Zach Taylor, a member of the GCHS graduating class of 2010.
Also during the program, superintendent Margaret Hopkin recognized seven district teachers who are retiring – Tom Eyler, Linda Warren, Tom Warren, Nori Swanson, Rosanne Nicol, Kathey McNeely, and Peggy Harty.
“We appreciate their years of dedication on behalf of the children of Grand County,” said Hopkin, noting that those seven teachers, along with three other retiring district employees (Sue Cook, Gail Lea, and Gloria Molina) have a combined total of 285 years of experience working within the school district.
After Hopkin’s formal acceptance of the graduating class from GCHS principal Stephen Hren, the graduates passed through the large block “G” as their names were read, and received their diplomas from members of the Grand County Board of Education. A lively fireworks display capped off the evening.