Friday, August 10, 2018

Ammon's Graduation

Ammon graduated from Salmon High School on Friday, June 1. He was one of six valedictorians in their graduating class of 56. It was a wonderful ceremony: the valedictorians delivered their cohesive speeches together, the commencement speaker was local hero Lance Pekus (the Cowboy Ninja from the TV show American Ninja Warrior), the choir and band each performed a song, there was a senior picture slideshow, and the awarding of diplomas went smoothly. 

It was almost surreal, realizing that my son was graduating--and I remembered my own graduation as well. It's strange, the passing of time: how it seems both so long ago that he was born, and not so long ago that I graduated from high school myself--and yet here we were with our oldest son at his high school graduation! I caught glimpses of him as he sat with his graduating class, seeming to try to take in the fullness of the moment, viewing the surroundings trying to soak every detail in, and really capturing in his memory the actuality of the event. 

Several people told me that his speech was their favorite--I think because he kept it real. He's such a procrastinator, always has been, and he was working on finalizing his speech up until the moment he left home to get ready for the big night, just hours before he addressed it to the audience! I suppose he works well under pressure! This is what he said: 

"Hey class of 2018! (gave them thumbs up) You know, the last few months I haven't been able to wait to graduate and be done with high school but now that I'm up here actually giving this speech it's awfully bittersweet. Being done with high school is sweet, but saying goodbye to this school, it's teachers, all my friends, and this community, is bitter. Getting ready to go off into the real world and experience new things is sweet, but looking back on my high school experience is bitter. I wish more than anything that I could say that I have gone through school without having any regrets whatsoever, but I can't (not honestly anyways). I wish I could go back in time and live every year like I have my senior year, with no regrets. Sure, this year has had more than its fair share of disappointment: coming one point shy of being cross country state champions, not having the basketball season that we should have, playing poorly at state golf, and the list goes on. But the good times greatly outweigh the bad. Life is short, life is fleeting, life isn't fair, and life goes on. We only get one shot at this life so make it count. Work hard when it is time to work and then play harder when it is time to play. Don't be like me and have regrets. Every day is a new day, every hour is a new hour, every minute is a new minute, and every moment is a new moment, so make the most of it. We are all human and we all make mistakes but take them and learn from them, get better because of what you did wrong. Don't dwell on the past, focus on the present, and let the future take its course. Control what you can and don't try to control what you can't. do what YOU love, do what makes YOU happy, do what YOU want, and the rest will figure itself out I promise. Remember "Carpe Diem" which is Latin for "seize the day". Remember, in the words of Joe Dirt, to "keep on keepin on". And remember, it is what it is. To all the teachers, thank you deeply for everything. To all the underclassmen, focus on your school work, that comes first, but also know when to take a break from your studies and have fun, to my family, I love you guys. To my fellow classmates, and everyone else in here, life is whatever you make of it, so make it good. #YOLO (mic drop (but not actually))

His promenade partner was Ava Troy

They surprised us with confetti bombs on their walk out

He designed and decorated his cap himself!

Both sets of grandparents came to support him.
Only one set stayed for pictures, though.

We couldn't get a family photo since Kanyon
opted not to go to graduation (it had been the last
day of school at West J, & he was tired after the drive)

Proud parents!

Best friend Eli

Ammon and Emmy (Eli's older sister)

Uncle Gideon and Aunt Tiffany were able to come, too

This was the first H.S. graduation Eve has ever been to!

Underclassmen friends

Good friends Hunter, Robie, Kaitlyn, and Eve

With some of his girls: Ava, Ruby, Kaitlyn, Evey, and Maddy 

The fellas: Eli, Ammon, and Tiger

XC friends

One of my favorite moments of the night: Ammon and Tiger wanted to take a photo with each other, I told them to smile,
then I said what a handsome pair they were and that they should kiss, and they both instantly followed the order
and leaned in towards each other. Unfortunately, I had put my camera down not realizing they would follow suit,
and I missed the shot, but Tiger's mom and I bust a gut laughing, and so did the boys. When we tried to re-create the shot,
it wasn't quite as good as the original, but it still made me super elated. I sure love these kids!!

What a handsome boy of mine!
I made him that necklace the night before, out of
chocolate and dollar bills, but unfortunately, I was so
busy handing out other graduate's gifts before the
ceremony, I forgot to give it to him until afterwards.
I felt like such a bad mom! It had been a stressful
day and evening, and it totally escaped my mind!

The Senior Sober Night began at 9:00. Josh drove the bus with the seniors on it around town to different destinations for the all-night party. They had dinner at the Baptist church, went to the arcades, watched a movie at the theater, went bowling at the alley, went swimming at the pool, and had breakfast at the Catholic Church where they also got their door prizes for staying all night. It was fun, but so tiring! My volunteer shift was at the movie theater from Midnight to 2am. The show we watched was "Life of the Party". It was hilarious!! I was so exhausted from the long day, though, that I ended up falling asleep around 10:30 that night and had to wake up to go to the theater, and was a little out of sorts at first. Josh was so tired from being up all night chaperoning the event and driving the bus, that he ended up falling asleep during the 2-4am shift at the bowling alley!!

Jake and Dawn Aldous were chaperones all night, with Josh

Ethan pulling Ammon around the movie
theater before the movie started.

Josh sleeping so restfully on the floor at the bowling alley!

He came home with a big stash of gifts that he'd
received both at graduation and as prizes from
Senior Sober Night. 

When he got home, he slept for a bit, then started attending his friend's graduation parties at their houses. He arrived back that evening, just before our own graduation party for him!! I gifted him a nice water bottle that says "Nailed It". Inside was a $5 bill for every A he got on a report card in middle school and high school. When he was one of the valedictorians for middle school, he asked Josh and I what his reward was, and we were like "ummm, nothing except the knowledge that you're awesome!!" But I told him that if he kept up the good grades, that I'd reward him at the end of high school. I know it isn't a huge reward, but we wanted to give him more than we gave any of the other kids graduating, and we didn't pay out as much this year to others because we wanted him to have more--he definitely deserved it!

The graduation party was nice. We had several family members, and many of his friends come. My sister Trina and her husband Dan even surprised us by showing up! It was pretty laid back: Josh grilled burgers and hot dogs, we had chips and watermelon and drinks, and my mom made a variety of desserts. As it started getting late, we moved around the campfire and talked and laughed until Ammon left with his friends to their house to spend the night.

Seminary graduation was on Sunday, June 3. Ammon, once again, was one of the speakers at the ceremony (which was a total surprise, as he'd forgotten to tell both Josh and I that!). In fact, he was the ONLY youth speaker of the 15 graduates (which includes students from Leadore and Challis). I wanted to take a picture with Josh's parents (before they left again), so we headed outside for better lighting. We waited a few minutes for Edward to finish talking with some people in order to take the picture, and by the time we were done and went back inside, all the dessert was gone (several of the graduate's younger siblings went back for seconds, and ended up eating our portions apparently). I didn't mind, but the boys were rather irritated! One knows that making children go to church functions on Sunday evenings is only good if there's dessert at the end!! So, basically, they felt robbed ;)!

All in all, though, it was an absolutely wonderful weekend celebrating the successes of our oldest son, Ammon. We are incredibly proud of him and all he's accomplished through his schooling years!! Josh and I both feel that he is better looking than we were at his age, smarter than we were, more social than we were, and definitely more talented--so we know that his future is full of so many possibilities! We hope that he will continue to be just as successful in his life as he was in high school years!