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Follow your passion, says speaker at RHS graduation

Follow your passion, says speaker at RHS graduation

May 28, 2013 - By Andrea Novotny, Staff Writer

Twelve valedictorians were honored this year from Riverton High School's graduating class of 149 seniors, who received their diplomas during graduation ceremonies Sunday.

The dozen students with 4.0 grade-point averages all spoke at the event, sharing their favorite memories of high school and thanking friends, family, teachers and others for support during the past four years.

Several, including valedictorian Thomas Amend, talked about the unique qualities that make up the RHS class of 2013.

"We have so much talent in so many fields, so much passion, and so much love for what we do," Amend said.

Retiring social studies teacher Larry Chouinard encouraged the students to follow their passions when making life decisions in the future.

"If I hadn't followed my passions, I don't know where I would be, but I guarantee I would be a lot less satisfied," he said.

Chouinard told the story of his decision to become a teacher. He said he took a substantial pay cut when he entered the profession, but he has spent the past 39 years doing something he was passionate about.

Later, he spoke about the importance of treating everyone with respect and dignity, noting that many people he works with are his former students.

"You never know who may become your co-worker, or even your boss," he said.

Chouinard told stories of memories shared with the graduates: the thousands of essays and poems they have written over the past year, class trips they have taken, sporting events they have attended. He recalled one student he found dangling from the ceiling one day after the teen decided to take a trip through the building's air ducts.

The valedictorians shared their individual stories too, but they all agreed that their favorite collective memory would be Sunday's graduation.

The 2013 valedictorians are Amend, Rudy Batista, Dallin Cooper, Breanna Gray, Miranda Hosking, Ashley Lynott, Vanessa Nells, Bree Olson, Annie Phister, Seth Quayle, Joseph Roseno and Tori Stanek.

The RHS symphonic band played during the ceremony, and senior, concert, and jazz choir members performed the song "For Good" from the Broadway musical "Wicked."

Seventy-seven students received scholarships to institutions of higher education.

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