Valedictorian Address

Valedictorian Address

Snow Commencement 2006

By Jesse Smith

I'm sure it's not news to you students, or your parents, that life at Snow College has a number of quirks. I doubt I'm the only one who's had to wait at the crosswalk for a herd of sheep to pass on College Avenue. I'm not the only one to have been surprised to be passed on the sidewalk by my 65-year-old microbiology professor, on his bike! There are many things that have kept our stay at Snow College interesting.

During my first semester here the area was having a bit of a drought. It seemed that summer had lasted clear into December and everyone was wondering where the "Snow" in "Snow College" had gone. On the other hand, I spent a certain week last month wondering if we were going to get any "spring" out of "Spring Break."

But fluctuations in the weather are not the only things we've been through. It took a while to get used to our weekly power outage. I remember sitting in class one time when the lights blinked out. Without pause, our chemistry teacher, Dr. Beck, continued his lecture in the darkness. By the time he finished his sentence he had pulled out and lit a couple of Coleman lanterns! The knowing grin on his face dashed our hopes that the quiz would be postponed.

It's no news that we're pretty secluded here at Snow College. The nearest Denny's is some thirty miles away through Nephi Canyon. Now, I understand that some students have been known to make the notorious midnight Denny's run in remarkable time: In some cases faster than they could have made it to their neighborhood Denny’s in city traffic.

What I would like to talk about today, however, is how you, students, and how you, teachers, have made Snow College such a close community. It is important to recognize the influence that you have had on this student body. It is by your combined influence that Snow College has been able to give to us a solid foundation in our education. Many of us will continue to build on that solid foundation with further schooling, and all of us will continue to build on it most importantly: with our lives.

One thing that has always impressed me about Snow College is how much the people here care. Anywhere you go on campus you see students holding the door for each other, politely greeting each other in passing, or picking up stray trash. There must be something about Snow College that attracts students who care enough to respect their opportunity to attend here and who do what they can to preserve the experience for others.

Snow College may attract great students, but there is no doubt that it attracts amazing teachers! I haven’t quite figured out what it is, but I’m sure the teachers will agree, it’s not the money! If there’s one thing I can’t say enough about it’s the quality of teachers here at Snow. Dr. Larry Smith, Dean of the Natural Sciences Division, recently told me that he had exactly the job he wanted and that we, the students, were his payment. If our teachers place such high value on our academic success, the best thing we can do for them is to fork out their payment by taking our education seriously. It has been my experience that the teachers of Snow College demonstrate an unequalled dedication to the success of their students. Each of us has come a long way since we started here by the help of our teachers and today is an important checkpoint in our progress.

No one knows better than us the work it has taken to get to this point. I doubt any graduate here has been able to make this accomplishment with out sacrifice. I’m sure we’ve all given up entire nights of sleep to finish up that English paper. Of course most of us made up for our lost sleep the next day in class. But the point is that we’ve all worked hard to get where we’re at and I hope we can realize that it has been well worth the sacrifices.

Our graduation is a significant event in our lives. I know our families share our pride as we receive our diplomas, but of even more lasting significance is the education that we have received here. Our diplomas may better equip us to put food on our future families’ table, but it is what we have learned and will learn that helps put meaning in our lives. I feel that making the choice to educate ourselves and sticking with it not only improves our lives, but it strengthens our nation as a whole.

I, for one, am thankful to have been a part of the Snow College community. Quirks or no quirks, I cannot think of any other place I would have rather gone. I think we should all be grateful for the sacrifices that the faculty and teachers have made on our behalf. In fact, we could probably all slip them flattering notes to tell them so – there might still be time before they post our final grades.

Let’s reflect back on the end of our first year at Snow. The college lifestyle had begun to settle in and we felt we had a pretty good handle on things. Perhaps you had made friends of some of last year’s graduating class, as I did. After graduating, those students disappeared from the Snow scene – they had moved on to their respective universities. I remember thinking about some of those graduates and appreciating the positive contribution that they had made to my education. Now we stand in the shoes of those graduates. Hopefully we have contributed in classes and study groups enough to have been a positive influence to each other and to those who will remain at Snow for a while. Now we move on, hopefully remembered by those who follow us and surely in remembrance of those we’re following. Thank you all!