Families of Pleasant Grove seniors visited from more than 6 feet away outside the school on Friday during the graduation walk.
“You realize that today is the opposite of the first day of kindergarten,” one parent remarked.
Seniors Logan Cobbley and Bailey Capt actually attended kindergarten together 13 years ago. On Friday they posed for pictures at the completion of their high school experience.
“I don’t remember a lot from kindergarten,” Capt said. “I just remember how we would play at my house or hers. Those memories have kept us together. Logan lives right down the street from me and this is the first time I’ve seen her in two months.”
“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Cobbley said. “Not being able to take pictures with some of my other friends has been rough but at the same time, we’ve been able to keep friendships with them.”
With a graduating class of 650 seniors, Pleasant Grove is spreading out graduation activities over four days. Seniors arrive with their family members at the school at a designated time and walk through the auditorium to the cheers of faculty and staff. After posing for pictures in front of a large “G” and receiving their diploma from Principal Steve Stewart, the graduates walk through the school and are greeted by more members of the faculty.
Next Thursday at 7 p.m. all Alpine School District high schools will show a pre-recorded video of student and faculty speeches followed by fireworks at each location.
Cobbley said she enjoyed Friday’s festivities.
“Having seven older siblings, it was nice to not have to sit in a graduation for hours,” she said. “Having a moment with myself and my family was a lot more personal. Through high school, I’ve learned about pressing forward. Even if something doesn’t turn out the way you want, it can still be amazing.”
Cobbley has been working at a grocery store and plans on going into law enforcement.
“I’ve applied at different agencies to work in the records department or in dispatch,” Cobbley said. “The last two months I’ve learned that hard work goes far and it does pay off.”
Capt said that even though COVID-19 had altered graduation, she still enjoyed the festivities.
“I feel like it’s a lot more memorable,” she said. “I’ve learned to not be afraid and to be who I am. In high school it’s easy to get caught up with social media and friends and stereotypes, but it’s just so important to be who you are. These last two months have been very humbling because it’s easy to take things for granted.”
Assistant Principal Matt Norman sat in the school’s auditorium and cheered for each graduate who passed through on Friday.
“It’s just been incredible to have students in the school,” he said. “That’s something we haven’t been able to do for ten weeks. We’re allowing nine family members to come. It’s so great to have everyone here and give them a great experience. They’ve been through such a difficult time.
“I’m hoping they’ve learned something about resiliency. I hope all of us have learned some resiliency. I think we’ve all learned to appreciate things more, things we may have taken for granted. I know I have.”
Mark Christensen, who plans to serve a church mission before returning to study mechanical engineering, said he learned a good work ethic in high school as well as how to treat others.
“I liked the graduation,” he added. “I’ve been to my siblings’ graduations and they were so long. This one was shorter and more personalized.”
Spencer Cory said he thought graduation was “fantastic.”
“There were a lot of upsides and potentially some downsides,” he said. “It went a lot faster than most graduations so it was quite nice. The teachers have to sit through it all, but it was fun for us.”
Cory said he learned two very important lessons while in high school.
“I learned to have as much fun as possible and don’t do drugs,” he said. “The last two months I’ve learned to value each and every one of my relationships.”
Cory is going to do summer sales in Virginia selling pest control.
“That marks the start of me getting rich,” he said. “Everybody is home and people are making a killing right now.”