Malad Stake Seminary graduates 27 studentsMay 26, 2021 10:41AM ● By Justin Adams
The Malad Stake Seminary held their annual Seminary Graduation on Sunday, May 16, at the Malad Stake Center. There were 27 graduates from Seminary this school year.
The event was originally only open to the immediate families of the graduates, but was opened to anyone who wanted to attend earlier in the week.
The night began with Malad Stake President David Jensen presiding, and First Counsellor Jason Sperry conducting. Music for the program was played by Clara Huckaby with Rebekah Smith as the chorister. The opening prayer was offered by Ben Wray.
President Sperry acknowledged his gratitude for the circumstances that allowed the group to meet together, whether they were there in person or watching the broadcast via YouTube.
Willard Wray, a 2018 graduate, invited the new graduates to attend Institute offered each Wednesday. He also encouraged them to attend church at the Young Single Adults branch on Sundays. He said that he enjoyed both, and that they give him the spiritual boost to keep going through the week.
Traven Ward then spoke to his fellow graduating seniors. He talked about the blessings of Seminary in his life: having the opportunity to learn about the gospel every day, coming closer to missionary work, and gaining a better testimony. He said, “I promise that if we put God first in our lives, we will be blessed beyond measure.”
Hallee Haycock presented a piano solo rendition of the hymn “Lead Kindly Light.
Sedar Nesbit, the 2020-2021 Seminary Council President, then spoke to her classmates. She said that some of the lessons they were learning in high school were not going to be useful after they graduate, but the lessons learned in Seminary were the exceptions. She pointed out that whenever past students write letters to the Seminary students, they always say they wish they had paid more attention in Seminary. She said that what they learn in Seminary matters because it is connected to the church.
Sedar then told a story about going on a run and finding herself on a mountain, and the perspective it gave her of the world around her. “When we are down in this mortal life, we really do need to trust that God has the bigger perspective. When we have these crises in our lives, we need to trust that God sees. God knows.” She compared the lessons they had learned from Seminary and the Book of Mormon to a map for their lives, and pleaded with her fellow classmates to not drop the map they were holding as they go out into the world.
President Jensen then addressed the graduating seniors. He pointed out that this was actually the first Seminary graduation the current Stake Presidency had presided over, because the in-person events had been canceled the year prior due to Covid-19 restrictions. He said that although the graduating seniors would be taking part in a lot of endings over the next few weeks, the word ‘commencement’ actually means to begin or to start. “So this isn’t the end, this is the beginning of the rest of your life.” He asked that the seniors remember that they hadn’t made it this far on their own, and that they take the time to thank those who had helped them get to that point, especially their Heavenly Father and Savior.
He then quoted scriptures in Moses 1:6 and Joseph Smith-History 1:33, and told the students that Heavenly Father knows them by name and has a work for them to do. He asked that they first seek the kingdom of God and make themselves available to serve in His kingdom, quoting President Russel M. Nelson and saying that it would be the greatest challenge, cause, and work for them to do.
President Jensen told the graduates to take pride in where they came from. He said, “It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, you’ll find somebody who knows somebody from Malad. This town is actually the center of the universe. We carry the responsibility of making Malad a good place to live.”
He ended by asking the graduates to stand out and be different from the world by living the teachings they had learned in Seminary. “Each of you will take a different path in life, but I invite you to stay on the covenant path.”
President Brandon Ward, second counsellor in the Stake Presidency, thanked the 2020-2021 Seminary Council and released them. Members were President Sedar Nesbit, Peyton Briggs, Hallee Haycock, Grady Combs, Elyzabeth Teeples, Traven Ward, and Petyon Sweat.
He also asked that the new 2021-2022 Seminary Council be sustained. They will be President Gabe Bingham, Maggie Willie, Maclaren Garrett, Whitney Palmer, Clara Huckaby, Ryan Adams, William Maddox, Kaleb Miller, and Jaxom Whipple.
The graduates were read by Tom Jenkins, the Stake High Council representative, and the diplomas were given to the graduates by their bishops. A closing hymn was sung, and the closing prayer was offered by Tori Balappa.
The 2021 graduates were presented by ward. Those from the First Ward with Bishop Scott Mills were Mikki Clark, Grady Combs, and Traven Ward. Second Ward graduates with Bishop Randy Willie were MaryAnn Lindsay, Chloe Mills, and Andrew Waldron. Graduates from Third Ward with Bishop Ralph Bennett were Ellie Garrett, Kodi Phillips, and Lance Zabriskie. Fourth Ward graduates with Bishop Cory Daniels were Riley Dorius, Dex Schow, and Rebekah Smith. Those from the Fifth Ward with Bishop Jeff Alder were Ashley Carpenter, Hallee Haycock, Emma Jacobsen, and Sedar Nesbit. The graduate from Sixth Ward with Bishop Sterling Smith was Shannen Hudnell. Seventh Ward graduates with Bishop Craid Sorensen were Tori Balappa, Emmaline Francom, Carter Jeppson, Tom Simpson, Elyzabeth Teeples, Ashley Ward, and Ben Wray. Those from the St. John Ward with Bishop Austin Tubbs were Peyton Briggs and Hailey Spencer. And the graduate from the Curlew Ward in the Garland Utah Stake with Bishop David A Smith was Peyton Sweat.