A Graduation Celebration to Remember

They say, when you graduate from high school, you should never look back. Oops, I did!

Recently I returned to the town where I graduated from High School - Orem, Utah. Yes, I was an Orem High Tiger seems like a century ago, but not quite that long.

I thought I would drive past where I had hung out after school, and was surprised to see they were tearing down the old school, whose halls I walked down on a daily basis. Wow, did that make me feel old.

They are building a newer, better facility for the students. It did bring back memories of my glory days as an Orem Tigerette. We were the ones who cheered on the football team and did our half-time marches to the cheers of our classmates.

My Graduation Story

Not everyone has the police and their dogs chasing them on graduation night, but I did. What started out as a very innocent evening of fun turned into a nightmare. We had a large graduating class in 1969. We barely had a second in the ceremony to stand and have our name read before receiving our diplomas and singing our school song.

After attending the crowded graduation ball, a bunch of us graduates decided to hike to the big “Y” on the mountain. Having a lack of energy to complete that feat, we ended up at Canyon Elementary School where we relived our childhood climbing on the monkey bars, reeling on the merry-go-round and really enjoying our freedom from High School.

Neighbors in the vicinity were not as gleeful as we were, and they reported us for disturbing the peace! Soon sirens and a canine van drove up. Police with weapons and their dogs appeared out of their cars, and we decided to surrender rather than run and be tackled by Rover. It was about 3:00 a.m., and thus my criminal record started. Pretty much, that is the extent of it.

Our ten year reunion was held in Provo at the Elk’s Club. It was fun to see old friends and classmates. Our class president had unfortunately met an untimely death from a motorcycle accident. Seven of our classmates were reported to have died. It was interesting to watch the same old groups form. Even more apparent was the degradation that had taken place to several members of my peer group. Although the greater percentage of my classmates were Latter-Day Saints, a bar was set up and by the end of the evening; about half of them were in a drunken stupor.

Some alumnus were disgracefully dancing with their partners and sharing their horrendous life experiences without any shame. Many were divorced and looking, and others were divorced and swearing never to marry again. I felt quite fortunate to have escaped many of the calamities the others had experienced.

It was evident that although most of us had been brought up in supposedly good homes, something was definitely lacking. I believe too much stress on the material aspects of life and popularity (at whatever expense) had overshadowed the more important issues.

Nevertheless, I do have some fond memories of High School, and I am very grateful for teachers and friends I had at Orem High School.