President Gary Carlston introduces Bryce Sorensen of Gunnison, the valedictorian, and Jessica Guyman Cox of Huntington, the salutatorian.

 

Speakers urge graduates to decide what they want to become

 

Suzanne Dean

Publisher

5-4-2017

 

EPHRAIM—Two graduates from Central Utah were honored at Snow College commencement last week, one as valedictorian and one as salutatorian of the Class of 2017.

Bryce Sorensen, son of Wayne and Ann Sorensen of Centerfield, an agriculture major, was the valedictorian.

The salutatorian was Jessica Guymon Cox, daughter of Jeff and Joyce Guymon of Huntington, Emery County. Her husband, Cory Cox, joined her on the front platform.

“I’m proud to be representing Sanpete County,” Sorensen said in his valedictory speech.

He noted that five of the past six valedictorians at the college have been from Sanpete County, and three of those five have been from his home, the Gunnison Valley.

“Somewhere deep inside of you, you know what you want to become,” Sorensen told the graduates. Then he used a metaphor from farming to suggest what they needed to do to reach their potential.

He said the land on his family’s farm is laced with rocks. “Sometimes I wondered if we were growing crops or rocks,” he said.

Every year, one of his jobs was to pick up rocks, because if they weren’t removed, seeds sowed in the ground would not be able to sprout.

“The rocks represent the things you need to remove from your life to become the best you can be. The seeds are what you want to become,” he said.

“We all have a lot of potential in front of us, a lot of rocks to pluck and a lot of seeds to plant.”

Cox, the salutatorian, focused on “embracing new and daunting challenges.”

“I’m sure you had challenges” at Snow College, she told graduates. “(But) you’ve done it. You made it this far. Congratulations.”

But, she said, “The true test in living is whether we embrace what we have learned and continue to stretch…Are you prepared to become a lifelong learner and dreamer?”

She recounted a story told by Scott Wyatt, former Snow College president and now president of Southern Utah University.

As a boy, his father took him on a hike up a high mountain. When he started, he was excited, but as the hike got longer and his legs got tired, he got discouraged.

But his father broke the hike into smaller pieces by coaxing him to keep going to the next landmark, and then to the next, until he found himself standing on the ridge.

She advised graduates to break big goals and tasks into smaller pieces. “If fear or fatigue come to call…, those small goals will take you to the peak of those mountains,” she said.

“With hard work, perseverance and self-belief, there is no limit to what you can achieve.”