By Karlene Skretting
Westwind Weekly News
The Magrath High School graduation on Friday night celebrated the many accomplishments and talents of 53 graduates. While much of the evening focused on preparing for and looking towards the future, memories of the past and two former classmates were on the minds of many.
Class Valedictorian Teesha Olson, summed it up best during her speech. “Two members of our class in particular had a special impact on all of us. As we gather together tonight, those who are absent become increasingly apparent.”
Olson was referring to Danae Gough and Jorden Miller, two of the four local youth who lost their lives as a result of a tragic 2011 car accident.
The 4 Star Memorial Awards are given out every year in remembrance. The class also chose to present their families with hoodies and cards this year.
“Danae Gough and Jorden Miller were able to have an impact for good on us and all those who knew them. Through their friendliness and kindness, they were able to touch those around them and bring hope to others. Though they may not have changed the events of the world, they changed us and made a difference in our lives,” added Olson, through tears, remembering not only two beloved classmates, but her cousin as well.
Olson’s words also hit upon another important message, the idea that you don’t have to make an earth shattering contribution to leave a positive mark on the world. You can make a difference, even if it only changes the lives of one or two people.
“Perhaps our job may not be to cause dramatic upheaval in the world but to smooth the bumps for others as they move along the journey and perhaps to make a difference in their lives,” said Olson.
In making her point, Olson also shared a quote from one of her role models, Gordon B. Hinckley, that says, “[y]ou are good. But it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence. And the good that is in you must be spread to others.”
The MHS Class of 2015 already has practice doing and spreading good as a group. In 2010, their social studies class started a “Be the change” campaign to fundraise for World Vision where they raised over $2000 to send to families in need around the world.
This is just one of the many accomplishments of the class. The group includes many accomplished athletes, musicians, actors, dancers, hunters and artists.
“I know that we are each given talents and we can use both our gifts and our educational experiences to enable us to make a difference in the world. So aim high but start small. Spread the goodness in you to others, and you will make a difference.”
Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter challenged the class to look for something big after high school. Adding he has no doubts that the graduates can accomplish anything they set their minds to.
“If you actually see yourself as the future, that is the start,” he said.
MHS Rob Doig’s message was along the same lines. He noted that the students have the skills and abilities to be trend setters in terms of whatever they choose to do.
The words of guest speaker and MHS teacher Cathy Kusick resonated with the class, as a wide range of emotions from happy tears to belly shaking laughter, could be seen on the faces of the grads throughout her speech.
Her biggest message was inspired by the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “[y]ou must do the thing that you think you cannot.”
In which she shared a personal story highlighting the risk, effort, failure, and ultimate joy and growth that comes with challenging yourself and not taking the easy safe path in life.
“If we do not do more than we think we can, how do we grow, and how can we become the change we wish to see in the world?”