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  • Writer's pictureAmyanne rigby

What It Means to Rise- the class of 2020

Note this piece appeared in the Iron County Today on Wednesday May 6, 2020

The Class of 2020 was born on the heels of 9/11 and raised in the shadows of a “new normal.” Growing up, terrorism and the Taliban were commonplace words in their vocabulary. Life in the 21st century differed greatly from that of the previous one. The opposition was unseen and unidentifiable. But that did not stop this class from “Rising Together.”

The Student Body Presidents from Iron County’s High schools give voice to the class of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic brings to a halt “senior year” for the 614 seniors in Iron County. How do you take control of the uncontrollable? What happens when life changes- no school, no spring sports, no activities, no proms, and perhaps not even a graduation? The truth is you never get these moments back

Life as a teen in quarantine, definitely has it challenges, but for seniors in high school, everything they have dreamed of and worked for ended with Governor Herbert’s announcement on April 14, 2020 extending the “soft closure” of Utah’s schools throughout the remainder of the school year.

Lydia Pace, Student Body President of Canyon View High School, represents the epitome of a Student Body President who doesn’t stop- who continues to rise. Pace has taken comfort in a favorite quote as her senior year and service as Student Body President shifted to a different gear, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. Pace like many other seniors across the state of Utah and Iron County didn’t get the chance to complete her senior sport’s season. In fact, Pace was at the starting line of the 800 at her first and unbeknownst to her, last track meet of the year when a CVHS alumnus said to her, “Run this race like it’s your last.” Pace now carries those words with her to remind her of the brevity of a moment and to encourage the underclassman at CVHS not to take anything for granted.

Parowan High School Student Body President, Cort Dunlap, represents 49 senior graduates. Cort is unique in that he is a junior as Student Body President, but like Pace, Dun lap believes in pushing forward. He has found strength in PHS’s Coach Carter Miller’s Favorite quote from Rocky, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward…”

Japrix Weaver, Student Body President of Cedar High School, has had an illustrious high school career as a student/ athlete. Weaver has been an integral part of Cedar High’s volleyball, basketball, and softball teams over the past four years. However, this was Weaver’s first year being involved in student government- and she has loved it. She has used both her student government and athletic opportunities to help and lift others. Weaver has relied upon CHS’s basketball Coach Corry Nielsen’s quote, “So What, Now What?” to help her navigate in the pandemic’s unchartered territory.

Pace, Dunlap, and Weaver represent a powerhouse of student leaders who serve the students at their respective schools. For the most part, the service rendered by members of student government receives little recognition. They attend sporting events, dance competitions, and school plays. They organize school dances, activities, and make endless posters to cheer on their fellow students. They lead, they serve, and they care-- they make a difference.

Collectively these three student body presidents have participated in the following extra-curricular activities: drama, football, soccer, band, track, choir, volleyball, cross country, track, basketball, and softball. They have truly made the most of their high school experiences and encourage the underclassmen at their schools to do the same.

All three Iron County Student Body Presidents agree upon what they are missing the most right now, “the everyday normal experiences of high school life, the halls of their schools and the camaraderie of their classmates. And the most gut wrenching regret- they never got to say goodbye.”

To catch a glimpse of these three in action check out the 5 minute, 34 second video @RiseTogetherUTah in which Pace, Dunlap, and Weaver join more than 100 student body presidents from across the state of Utah in hopes of encouraging, lifting, and inspiring their fellow students to unite. The video begins, “Dear Utah, What a time to be alive. Who knew we’d be caught in the midst of a global crisis?”

No one could have guessed this pandemic was coming, nor what the ramifications of its existence would be. For the class of 2020, the Pandemic has required resiliency and the ability to rise. Pace, Dunlap and Weaver concur, that’s one thing this class does best- RISE and for them it’s all about doing it together.


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