The 51 students in the Malad High School Class of 2013 marked a historical occasion with their commencement exercises. This was the 100th Annual Commencement Exercises for Malad High School.
The 51 graduates were seated as narrator Martin Pope read each graduate’s name and future plans.
Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Braxton Davis, Malad High School Student Body President. He welcomed the faculty, school board, families, and friends of the graduates and then announced the first half of the program. He then deferred to Nels Anderson, Senior Class President, who introduced the family members of the Hall of Fame Inductees, inducted into the Hall of Fame the day before. They included: Conrad C. Alder, who was represented by his daughters, Marsha and Alyce; and Stan and Erma Thomas and Dennis and Brenda Thomas, with Brenda and her son, Jerry Thomas, representing the family.
The Malad High School Class of 2013 threw their caps into the air at the completion of the school song as part of their commencement.
Salutatorian Braxton Davis was the first to address the Class of 2013 that evening. Following is his address:
“Welcome one and welcome all to the 100th commencement exercises of Malad High School. To my classmates of the greatest class ever, congratulations. So for those of you who don’t know I am the Salutatorian of the class. This means that I took second place academically, or in other words I am the first place loser… anyway I ask all of you to bear with me I neither have nerves of steel, nor am I an orator or great speaker like Brandon Sorensen. I have written this speech hundreds of times and still do not know the words I should say, so bear with me as I express my heart.
“I ask all of you, my friends and classmates, to go on a little journey with me as we reminisce in the times of which we have spent together. I don’t know about you guys, but some events I will never forget: our Junior Prom, Senior Project, Pumicing the “M”, and winning Homecoming twice; that’s right BooYah!! Man have we had some great times together!
“However, even more so will I remember the small and simple times we had together. To me it is the small and simple things that make the difference. Such times are: walking to class together and enjoying each other’s company, some of the fights that we had in PE when things were a little too competitive, driving to Flags in the wee hours of the morning, or when a classmate of ours dreamed of going on rides into the sunset with Carrie Underwood on Zebras? (by the way I still do not understand that story), or those long bus rides home that we sat in the silence of our tears. Many of which I will never forget revolved around football or other sports. Yet, most importantly I will always remember the good times we had; I will always remember the friends and the family that I have gained through these memories. You will be forever perpetuated in my heart.
“So now as we look ahead to our future and we look to the things to come I leave with you some challenges. The first of which can be quoted from a favorite movie of mine, ‘Meet the Robinsons’. The theme is Keep Moving Forward. Times may get tough, times will get hard, you may struggle through things that you don’t think you have enough strength to withstand. My advice is keep moving forward. Better times lie ahead.
“This brings me to the second point. It may simply be summed up by Rocky Balboa (from the ‘Rocky’ movies). ‘Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!’
“Coach Young challenged the seniors two years ago to take on life’s challenges because they will yield the most reward. I extend that challenge to you. Take the hard road. It won’t be in your comfort zone and it won’t be what the crowd is doing but I can promise you that this road is the one that leads to the most joy. Anybody can do it if it is easy. Only you will do what is best. Don’t trade what you want most for what you want in the moment.
“You see, my friends, our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. My friends let your light so shine before men. Do not try to hide yourself from the world because you are powerful beyond measure. Shine and let the world see who you really are, let them see your potential. Let your light shine and do what you were born to do. Thank You.”
Valedictorian Sydney Ellis was next to address the graduating class. Following is her address:
“This is always an emotional time of year. We students feel the excitement and slight fear of leaving the place we grew up and entering the real world. You, our family members and other important people in our lives, are watching us reach an important and unforgettable milestone. It is a time marking achievement, separation, and discovery.
“We were privileged enough to attend a school such as Malad High. Even though it is a considerably small school, the administration and teachers work their hardest to supply the students with as many opportunities as possible. The teachers here are wonderful. They put forth a lot of time and effort into their classes. Due to the smaller class and school size, there is a much stronger relationship between the students and the teachers. In some way, we were all touched or impacted by at least one of the teachers. The staff at Malad High has certainly set high standards for people we may encounter in the future.
“The class of 2013 is truly an amazing class. We have always prided ourselves with the closeness we feel for one another. We work well together. This closeness enabled us to win homecoming two years in a row; something we are all extremely proud about! I am going to miss seeing the rest of my class. We have pretty much grown up together and we have made so many memories which will not be soon forgotten. I have so many memories, and I would just like to thank each and every one of you for making those with me. However, we will be leaving soon. Chances are we will not be seeing much of each other besides the odd meeting here and there. We are going to drift apart. It is going to be quite sad, but it’s just not something we can completely avoid. Yes, it is sad and frightening to leave what you have known for most of your life, your comfort zone, but this is our chance to grow as individuals.
“We are about to go off on our own; some are serving a mission, some may be entering the work force or even the military, and others are continuing their education. Where ever we may go, this is our chance to discover ourselves. Try something new! Put yourself out there. This is the time to find your passion; find what makes you happy. This is your chance to become your own person.
“You are about to make many choices concerning your life. I wish I could say that everything will go perfectly, but I can’t. You are going to make mistakes; you are going to mess up. One of the founding fathers of our country, Benjamin Franklin stated, “I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” Keep your head up and keep going. Don’t look at it as the end. Pick yourself up and realize that you have become stronger. A favorite quote of mine fits perfectly in this situation, “God puts his strongest warriors through the toughest battles.” When you are fighting a tough battle, please realize that you have the strength to push through. As cheesy and cliché as it sounds, somehow, in some way, things will work out; it may not end the way you had hoped for, but it will end and it will be okay.
“Great things are going to come out of this group of students. But for now, we have passed this major milestone in our lives. Congratulations class of 2013. We did it.”
A musical number was then presented by the Dragons’ Minstrels. They sang, “You Raise Me Up.” The graduates performing with the group included Cody Andersen, Heidi Hannah and Michelle Sands.
Nels Anderson then introduced the Commencement speaker for the Class of 2013, Mrs. Irene Alder. Alder has served as the counselor at Malad High School since 1992, starting her career at the school as a math teacher in 1986. She also “graduated” with the class of 2013, retiring at the end of the 2012 – 2013 school year. Anderson said Alder was selected to speak “since she is graduating with us.”
Alder began, “Mr. Risenmay, school board members, parents, friends, guests, esteemed colleagues and especially the Class of 2013. It is an honor to be here today to give tribute to a special class of young women and young men graduating from Malad High School tonight.
“Senior class President, Nels Anderson, had a special request that I title my speech ‘A Class of Change’. Many of you in the audience are probably wondering why the Class of 2013 thinks they are ‘A Class of Change’ or ‘A Class of Firsts’ but either way you soon will understand why.
“Since this class entered MHS as freshman they have felt the pressure of being the first class to graduate under the new State of Idaho graduation requirements. In fact, they have felt very picked on, very unhappy, angry and have been very outspoken about these changes and wanted to know why it had to be their class! They are the first class required to have three years of science, three years of mathematics one year which had to be taken (and passed) their senior year and they had to have a senior project in order to graduate and it has not been a fun journey breaking this new ground in uncharted waters for some of them and some of us! On top of all that we received word that Lagoon wasn’t going to be open until after Memorial Day except on weekends so they are the first class that didn’t have the opportunity to go to Lagoon in recent years and because of that change of plans they get the opportunity to stay in Malad tonight to have their all-night graduation party! But I can guarantee that if they come tonight that they will have a fun time!
“This evening I have brought a symbol of your high school experience. It is a quilt that represents a snap shot of the past four years. The quilt is not quite finished but enough of it is done that you can see that the pieces represent the possibilities and opportunities for student involvement these past four years. Each piece represents a memory of student life at Malad High School. It will be given away tonight at the all night graduation party as my gift to one of you. When you put all the pieces of the quilt together it represents memories that can never be taken away and when you look at it throughout your lifetime, I hope you will reminisce about the great four years you had at Malad High School. Most of the T-shirts that are in this quilt are from my personal collection and a few other teachers have sacrificed a few from their collections, also. Thank you Mrs. Ogden, Mrs. Green and Coach Hill!
“I gave out a survey and of course only about 70% handed the survey back in, which is a trait of this class. So for those of you who did not hand one in you might be surprised by what I have to say about some of you!!!
“Some interesting facts about the Class of 2013 are: “Their favorite candy bar is: Snickers followed closely by Twix, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Kit Kat. In all, they named 12 different kinds of candy bars, my favorite answer was Sydney Tubbs’ Hershey’s Kisses!
“Their favorite drink was a tie between Pepsi and Powerade with water coming in a close second. They listed twenty different kinds of drinks, some of which were new to me. Overall this class is very health conscience regarding what they drink!
“I also asked them what their favorite subject in school was and why. The number one subject, which came as no surprise to me was math. I liked Kayla Harrison’s answer because it made me chuckle. She wrote math ‘and I don’t know why?’ English was close behind and many wrote that it was because of their teachers! What a great tribute to Ms. Brimhall and Mrs. Burnett who are retiring this year, and such a sad time for future students of Malad High School who will not have the opportunity to learn from and associate with these great teachers.
“I asked a lot of questions and learned a lot about these graduates but I want to focus on two questions in particular. What was your favorite high school memory and what do you think you will be doing in 10 years.
“There were many memories and I want to thank you for sharing them with me because it gave me greater insight into what you treasured at Malad High School. The number one memory was homecoming. There were different aspects of homecoming, two of which were the multiple year victories; but one stood out above the rest, and that was Chase Albretsen’s fireworks in the bonfire, which was a bonfire to remember! Next was the 2010 football season, playing at the dome and coming up just short of a state championship followed by Mrs. Burnett’s lunch bunch where students felt free to talk about everything and anything and where they had fun for 30 minutes!
“Other memories worth mentioning are: two state baseball championships, prom, two state cheer titles, anything drill team, and believe it or not, Senior Project. Both Katie Neal and Nicole Hubbard mentioned making great memories through involvement with great friends. Sydney Tubbs wrote, ‘Cheering at football. There’s something about cheering at football games under the lights that make those nights unforgettable.’ I liked Braxton Davis’ answer: ‘There were too many memories to choose from’, and Heidi Hannah’s long list of memories in a small space. I almost had to get my magnifying glass out to read them!
“Another question that I asked was, what do you think you will be doing in 10 years? Almost everyone said, ‘Married with kids.’ Other answers were living life to the fullest, making money, nice job and perhaps a wife, doing something I love somewhere warm, working, serving in the military, securing Air Force One, living life with no regrets, sipping margaritas in Figi, and last but not least coming back to our 10 year reunion if we have one!
“Thank you to the senior class officers. Nels Anderson, you were a great leader with a vision and mission for this class. You have achieved that. Thank you to Cody Hoskins, Hayli Tripp, Nicona Broadus and Cody Andersen. You have been great to work with, dependable and represented your class well.
“I could stand here tonight and thank everyone of you personally but time does not allow for that but thank you Class of 2013 for all you have done for me as a person on this special night. Even though I graduated from Box Elder High School in 1967, I can now say that I am an official graduate of Malad’s Class of 2013!!
“There were many times this second semester we had doubts as to how many of you would be graduating tonight! You kept us on our toes since we had so many who had F’s in core classes during the semester. If it weren’t for your hard work, your parents’ cooperation, along with your dedicated teachers and staff a few of you would not be graduating tonight! But miracles do happen and all of you will be graduating tonight together as it should be.
“On May 3, 2013, I was reading the paper and a statement caught my eye. Former U. S. Senator Larry Craig issued a challenge to the University of Idaho graduates on May 2 and I issue that same challenge to you today. He said, ‘You have all persevered, you got it done – now what are you going to do?’ I liked that statement because it applies to all of you graduates this evening! YOU have persevered, You got it done – now what are YOU going to DO?
“One of my favorite quotes, that you have all heard by Dale Carnegie is, ‘When life give you lemons, make lemonade.’ Meaning, Class of 2013, It’s up to you how sweet or sour that life will be. You are the master of your own destiny, you have control of what happens. How much sugar are you going to put into your lemonade? Put in those teaspoons of education, positive attitude, laughter, friendship, family, character, integrity and hard work. Only then will that lemonade be sweet and you will experience that as living life to the fullest with no regrets!
“This is the last night you will all be together as the Class of 2013. Enjoy it then GO OUT AND NOT JUST HAVE A GOOD LIFE BUT MAKE IT A GOOD LIFE. “Thank you!”
Principal John Cockett then recommended the Class of 2013 for graduation. Oneida School Board Chairman Lisa Willie then accepted the graduates for graduation. She presented the diplomas to the students as their names were announced by the principal. She stepped aside as Cody Andersen was presented his diploma by his father, David Andersen, who is a member of the School Board of Trustees.
After Nels Anderson led the group in changing their tassels to signify their graduation, the Class of 2013 sang the Malad High School Song one last time before tossing their caps in the air and leaving the gym for the first time as graduates. They left to the music the class selected, “Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas, and “It Happens in a Blink” by Revive.
Also recognized that night were Scholastic Honor Roll members: Nicona Broadus, Braxton Davis, Quinn Eliason, Sydney Ellis, Michelle Sands and Brandon Sorensen. The Honor Roll members included: Nels Anderson, Kyle Daniels, Kayla Harrison, Nicole Hubbard, Stephani Treasure, Hayli Tripp and Shannon Williams.
The Senior Class Officers for the Class of 2013 were President Nels Anderson, Vice President Cody Hoskins, Secretary Hayli Tripp, Girls’ Representative Nicona Broadus, and Boys’ Representative Cody Andersen. The Student Body Officers for 2013 were President Braxton Davis, Vice President Wesley Peterson, Secretary Meaghan Brown, Historian McKenzie Willie, Business Manager Carson McClain, and Head Cheerleader Heidi Hannah.