2018 Santa Fe Trail graduates charge down new paths, ‘reach out to greatness’

Throwing their caps, SFTHS grads celebrate their accomplishment. Photos by Brad Shaffer, allsportsdigital.com

In what might have been the most concise valedictorian speech delivered at Santa Fe Trail High School, 2018 valedictorian Xavier Ard bid his classmates farewell and encouraged them to reach for their potential in life.

During the commencement ceremony Saturday, May 12, 2018, Ard thanked the staff at SFTHS “from our big scary principal to the friendly custodians,” and noted the class’ appreciation for them helping to make “the past four years of our lives great, but they have also helped develop us into who we are today.”

“I look out and I do not see just people,” Ard said. “I do not see only peers. I do not see matchless friends. I see much more than that. I see unlimited potential and I am beyond excited to see all of the amazing things it accomplishes.”

Ard’s speech echoed SFTHS salutatorian Madelyn Foster’s sentiments as she noted her classmates were “an extremely competitive group” that will impact the future.

“It is time for us to aspire beyond the cement walls of our high school, and reach out to greatness,” Foster said.

“I know our class, our entire generation, can do incredible things,” she said. “Now is the time when we are supposed to make waves and transform the ways of the world, and we are doing exactly that.

“We have raised the bar for those here at SFT, we have shown the community that we are not just rebellious teens, but we are powerful, impactful young people,” Foster said. “While our time here at Santa Fe Trail may be coming to an end, the revolution is only just beginning.”

The class of 76 graduates ended their high school years with SFTHS Assistant Principal Keith Johnson presenting the class of 2018 for graduation; USD 434 Board of Education President Randy Boudeman recognizing the class; and SFTHS Principal Patrick Graham announcing graduates as they accepted diplomas from members of the USD 434 Board of Education.

Diplomas were presented to SFTHS graduates Breanna Elizabeth Adams*, Kiana Teion Rebecca-Ann Allen, Xavier Ryan Ard*, Krista Brianne Asay, Brooke Lynn Baker, Joshua Daniel Baker, Ryan Christian Baker, Lane Alexander Barr, Christian Scott Blood, Ashleigh LeeAnn Boyd, Mekayla Katerina Burr, Anton Dean Burt, Clayton Thomas Chisham, Jonathan Ashby Clark, Greta Jeanne Costlow, Benjamin Alan Culbertson, Joshua Lee DeHart, Ellie Raye Eagle, Hunter Dean Ellenburg, Lauren Anne Ellis, Angel Enrique Esparza, Madelyn Grace Foster, Natalie Marie Fredrickson, Ashley Marie French, Mia Faye Gilbert, Garret Lee Gottschamer, Brenden Cole Hale, Hailey Denea Hall*, Hannah Noelle Honeyman, Brogan Wayne Hoss, Dylan Chase Huffman, Kelsey Elizabeth Hug*, Piper Sue Johnson, Tatum Mackenzie Jones, Brittany Mae Kerley Wells, Cyrus Grant Kincade, Cameron Harvey Koger, Savannah Kaylin Lankton, Justice Marie Lowery, Hunter Kyle Hyluard Maichel, Bryce Tucker Martin, Alexis Rose Marie Massey*, Brett Thomas Masters, Corey Alexander McGregor, Shaylee Marie Meier, Megan Nicole Mentzer*, Cody Dale Mitchell, Nathaniel Mason Mowery, Luke Arin Nichols, Mia Korrin Perez, Kaylyn Dawn Prettyman, Sarah Elizabeth Ralston, Ryan Lewis Ramey, Conner Lee Ridgeway, Tyler Warren Roberts , Alexia Faith Sargent, Dorian Keith Schallock, Abigail Raelynn Scheideman, Trevor David Schissel, Alex Robert Schmitthenner, Bailey Alexis Shepard, Kelsey Lee Simmons, Sabrina Alexis Simons*, Lauren Christina Slusser, Carson Reed Stumpff, Evan Joseph Tomlinson, Torianne Elizabeth Trego, Cheyenne Lee Trickel, Serena Anne Trindal, Tara Kay Turner, RaeAnne YuQi VanCamp, Catherine Rose Vollrath, Audrey Elizabeth Breanna Ward*, Layne Arthur Watkins, Calvin Andrew Young, Wynter Alaina Ziegler*.

Class sponsors for the SFTHS class of 2018 are Angela Black and Heather Garrison. USD 434 Board of Education members include Zac Anshutz, Tanner Black, Randy Boudeman, Liz Clark, Amy Crotinger, Michele Ferris, Jason Supple. Also presenting diplomas were past board members Dana Mentzer and Dean Tucker. USD 434 superintendent is Steven Pegram.

Junior ushers for the commencement included Kailey Cashier, Nicole Swiger, Carter Greenfield, and Will Herren.

Class motto: “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

* Denotes National Honor Society members. 

All photos courtesy of Brad Shaffer, allsportsdigital.com


Santa Fe Trail 2018 salutatorian and valedictorian speeches

SFTHS Valedictorian Xavier Ard

First I would like to thank all the staff here at Santa Fe Trail, from our big scary principal to the friendly custodians. I think I speak for my entire class when I say that we appreciate everything the staff has done for us, not only have they made the past four years of our lives great, but they have also helped develop us into who we are today.

I would also like to thank the parents and friends who have encouraged and spurred us forward the past years.

I look out and I do not see just people. I do not see only peers. I do not see matchless friends. I see much more than that. I see unlimited potential and I am beyond excited to see all of the amazing things it accomplishes.

SFTHS Salutatorian Madelyn Foster

I have tried to write this speech countless times throughout the last week and a half, but there was something stopping me. Something was preventing me from writing this “final hurrah” that marks the end of the last 13 years. It was something that has impacted all of us, we have all experienced it or at the very least witnessed it in some way, and that is senioritis.

Senioritis, as defined by Urban Dictionary (a reliable source, right, Mrs. Folger?) as a crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include laziness, lack of studying, repeated absences, and a dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as graduation.

Welcome class of 2018, welcome to our cure. Our class is full of competitive, motivated try-hards, but we are certainly not immune to this disease.

I would like to take the time to thank our teachers, because without their grace, I’m sure half of us would not be here today. And I would like to thank my friends for absolutely everything. I would also like to thank my parents for guiding me through the increasingly difficult task of growing up.

Learning and developing with this class of caring, hard-working, and compassionate people has been a journey. This class has always been special; at least that is what people told us. Teachers waited to retire and switched grades to be part of our story. At first, it was hard to understand, why we were put on this pedestal, but as we grew up, I realized I would not want to be a part of any other class. For better or worse, being a part of SFT’s class of 2018 meant growing up alongside an extremely competitive group. There was no choice for us but to win every single renaissance rally because we expected greatness from not only ourselves, but from everyone around us.

We encourage compassion and innovation, hard work and dedication. I know our class, our entire generation, can do incredible things. Now is the time when we are supposed to make waves and transform the ways of the world, and we are doing exactly that. We are organizing nationwide protests, creating movements, and making statements, and most of us cannot even vote yet. The potential for greatness among us is astonishing. We have raised the bar for those here at SFT, we have shown the community that we are not just rebellious teens, but we are powerful, impactful young people. While our time here at Santa Fe Trail may be coming to an end, the revolution is only just beginning.

This is why the severity of our senioritis was surprising. We worked so hard throughout all of school, but everyone seemed to embrace Cameron’s motto, “Due tomorrow, do tomorrow.” While it may be acceptable, maybe even expected, to slack off during the final stretch of high school, I know we will rise once again to the incredible expectations set by teachers, parents and ourselves. Witnessing this part of our lives come to an end is bittersweet. As much as I dreaded waking up to come to school, it is difficult to think I will never again yell the dance team’s unreasonably long chant, complain about the equally long bells, or walk the familiar halls laughing with my friends. It is hard to say goodbye to the familiar that has safely surrounded us for the past four years, but I can confidently say we have accomplished what we needed to while at Santa Fe Trail. It is time for us to aspire beyond the cement walls of our high school, and reach out to greatness.

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