Kemmerer graduates 42 in Class of 2018

Lincoln County School District No. 1 hosted a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2018 on Saturday, June 2. 

Thirty-four seniors from Kemmerer High School and eight seniors from New Frontier High School were honored at the ceremony. 

Salutatorian Brandon Crank thanked all who encouraged the graduates to think deeper and reach their potential. 

Louis Failoni gave the valedictory address. 

“The sacrifices of our families, friends and teachers that helped us get here are appreciated,” Failoni said. “I’ve watched our class become closer this year.”

Failoni, a state track champion, compared high school to running the mile race.

“We finished our four laps in four years,” Failoni said. “We crossed the finish line, but we are just finishing the first lap in life. Today is the first of many accomplishments.” 

Ranger football coach and English teacher Bart Jernigan delivered the commencement address. 

“This is a class of scholars, artists, athletes, creative thinkers and rebels,” Jernigan said. 

“You get to leave here with a clean slate,” Jernigan told the graduates. “I hope you will attack the path that lies before you with a new zeal.”

Jernigan compared the graduates’ future to climbing a mountain.  

“Today, we’re gathered at the base camp for the rest of your life journey,” Jernigan said. “Your unique journey is yours alone, and that’s both awesome and terrifying.” 

Jernigan said the point of high school was not to give the students all the answers, but teach critical thinking skills so that they can figure out the answers. 

He offered advice to help the graduates succeed in their individual climbs.

“Have a vision and a plan, and write down your goals,” Jernigan said. “Don’t just coast by.” 

Jernigan told the graduates to embrace failure, and to remember that success is worth more when it is elusive. 

“Talent is overrated,” Jernigan said. “If you want it, work for it.”

The coach and teacher told the Class of 2018 to embrace the possibilities of change that would be available to them after graduation.

“Don’t be afraid to change your mind,” Jernigan said. “Have a good attitude, despite your circumstances.”

Jernigan stressed the importance of choosing one’s fellow “climbers” on the journey wisely. 

“They don’t have to have the exact goals as you, but they should support you on your projected path,” Jernigan said. “Love people, and use things. Be good and be kind.”

Jernigan told the graduates to take one step forward when faced with daunting tasks. 

“Daily incremental progress adds up,” Jernigan said. “The journey is more important than the destination. It’s all about who you become along the way.”

“Remember where you came from,” Jernigan continued. “Your friends and family are anxious to see the future you bring about.”

Jernigan then quoted Walt Disney: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

“Be safe, be smart and have a good life,” Jernigan concluded.

After the commencement address, KJSHS principal Orlen Zempel and the LCSD No.1 administration and school board presented the diplomas to the graduates. 

The Class of 2018 turned their tassels, threw their caps in the air, and celebrated with their friends and family, eager to begin that long-anticipated journey.

© 2019-Kemmerer Gazette