On Wednesday evening, May 23, 113 Delta High School graduates marched down the field at Panther Stadium to begin the 120th commencement ceremony.
After assistant principal Rosie Johnson welcomed friends and family to the evening's program, Derek Carlson, principal, introduced the co-salutatorian speakers with GPAs of 4.2, Alexia Quinn and Lucy Streich.
Quinn began with sharing Abraham Lincoln's quote, "Whatever you are, be a good one," as encouragement to her class. Her speech then focused on the 10 most important things she's learned in school: be bold, brave and courageous; give second chances but never a third; never lose hope; look people in the eyes; and pause, relax and take a deep breath.
She ended her list with a lesson that made the entire stadium laugh, "Being on time means being 15 minutes early. But if you're going to be late, you might as well grab some food."
She concluded her speech by reminding her classmates to keep a piece of DHS with them as they move forward in life.
Streich's speech addressed the class' reputation. She compared the class to a "middle child," being "sandwiched between a class ahead, glorious, and a class below, victorious."
Being the middle child, she said their class was misunderstood and many only see negative traits.
"But those traits are what makes us, us," she said. She took several traits and showed the positive to each.
She related this to how in the future others might judge the graduates because of their roots in a rural community.
She urged the graduates to see how being from Delta is beneficial and actually gives them more opportunities. "Look up, look around. This place is beautiful," she said. "This place is home."
Before concluding, Streich recognized the loss of DHS students this past year. "We have learned to value life and that has made us stronger," she said.
Carlson introduced Valedictorian Jasper Carmichael, who had a 4.3 GPA.
He began with Walt Disney's quote: "All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."
He took the class down memory lane of their less-than-impressive reputation that began in middle school. "But we have turned out to be more than 'that' class," he said.
Carmichael focused on inspiring the class to see past the challenges they've faced and to know they are prepared for the future.
"Now is the time to realize the value of being kicked in the teeth," he concluded. "We have suffered, been victims and been underestimated, but we have courage, have persevered, and have proven to ourselves we are a class that can succeed."
He ended his speech by thanking the staff for their dedication and support.
Kaleigh Nethington, senior student council officer, introduced the commencement address speaker, Ty Gallenbeck. Her introduction reflected the positive impact he's had on her life and Delta.
Gallenbeck, 2001 alumnus, began sharing how he's active in the community he originally ran away from, but now loves. He is a professional magician, though this was never part of his plan.
"Life is crazy like that," he said. "I've come to see that life is a lot like a deck of cards." He then stepped away to give Carmichael, sitting behind him, a deck of cards to shuffle during the speech.
He pointed out that every deck when first opened is in order. "But once it's shuffled it becomes chaos," he said. Gallenbeck's job as a magician is to "make miracles" from the chaos.
Life often doesn't go as planned and gets shuffled up, he said. While giving examples of ways life shuffles, such as divorce or loss, he shuffled a deck of cards in his own hands.
He also shared the story of his own experience where the big and small moments shuffled together led him to now having a successful show in Telluride.
Carmichael was then asked to come up to the podium. He resealed and initialled the deck he shuffled. Gallenbeck then placed each deck in a wine glass on the podium.
Instead of the cliche "play with the hand you're dealt," Gallenbeck emboldened the graduates to "take the chaos life creates and try to make miracles."
He said the class of 2018, each individual student, is a miracle. He encouraged the class to remember this no matter how chaotic life gets.
To conclude Gallenbeck's speech, Carmichael took his sealed deck from the wine glass and they went through both decks with Carmichael reading out his card and then reading out Gallenbeck's card.
After reading off 13 cards being the exact same, the audience erupted in applause.
Gallenbeck concluded, "When life gets shuffled up...you're being made into the miracle you're created to be. The only thing guaranteed is that life will get shuffled up but you can make miracles from any hand you're dealt."
Carlson took to the stage next and presented the class. One row of students lined up as registrar Cheri Reece read their names. While walking forward to receive their diploma from members of the school board, counselor Shawna Magtutu read their special awards and plans following graduation.
After all graduates received their diplomas, senior student council officers closed and all students stood to move their tassels from the right side of their cap to the left to complete their high school career.