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By Jesse Utz 

Seniors, are you ready for the next step?

Jess Shut Up


This is the time of year when a small group of people in our community start to panic. A whirlwind of activity surrounds them, with every day being one step closer to that goal they have coveted for the last 13 years: graduation.

The senior class of 2016 at Lake Roosevelt is no exception. Papers, projects and deadlines are consuming them as we speak, all hinging a wager on whether they get that little piece of paper that signifies the first step in adulthood. But if we are to be honest, the learning of life lessons is just about to start and, although we adults know that some will have to learn the hard way, others hopefully are fully equipped to tackle the challenges ahead.

It would be hard to write about this senior class without mentioning some of them by name. You see, this class, maybe more than any other, has personally meant something to me. There are members of the class of 2016 who have taught me a few things. We have shared laughs and heartache together. We have grown together and cheered accomplishments on the field and in the classroom.

Lachelle Bearcub jumps out at me first. A true competitor, leader and role model for her class, I have seen her more than once lend a shoulder to cry on. She knows what it is like to hurt and conquer that pain. She is always smiling, although we know she cannot be happy all the time. She has inspired me to always be willing to help a fellow student or human. Whereever she ends up in the world, that part of the world will be a better place.

Devan Black is also one of those kids I will miss. His smile is contagious and his quick wit is something that even his brother would be proud of. Devan is one of the hardest, most dedicated workers I know. He seems to know exactly what it takes to get to where he wants to be and he seizes it. All year long, throwing a baseball just to get a little better, or putting in the extra time on a paper just to get a small percentage more on the score. Dedication to himself — that’s a big deal.

Kaylie Duclos, a young lady who did not reveal much of herself until this year, and out came an outstanding, huge hearted, lady with great potential for the future. I got to see her work with some younger kids and saw a passion for helping those who are struggling. She made connections with young ones and made a difference in their lives. She has matured into a world changer, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Then there’s Arielle White. The whole community always knew that this girl was going to do something big, and she will. She has drive, will and unending spirit that will carry her to the highest peaks of success, if that is where she chooses to go. She has already conquered so much in her life, but I get the feeling that with her, that is only the beginning.

Chance Garvin will have a place in my heart for a long time. Not just for his success on the football field and basketball court, but for his desire to be a role model for future generations. He is kinda like a “rock star” for the younger athletes around here, and he has not let it go to his head. He has a great personality and seems to genuinely want to be your friend. The big thing that stands out for me is that he is always willing to hear advice in the face of adversity. That is a major thing for a young man to have as he is about to go face the world head on.

This is just a snapshot of the senior class of 2016. You can see why I am going to miss them. But one column is just not enough for these “big dogs.” I will write about some others next week.

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