PHS Class of 2023 earns diplomas


Cali O'Hare photos

PINEDALE — Pinedale High School Wrangler Gym was brimming with memories and plans for the future as excited high school seniors, their friends and family filled the seats before graduation on Friday, May 26.

A total of 63 graduates would cross the stage that evening.

Pinedale High School senior class president Ally Moller opened the ceremony with a reading of Cleo Wade’s book “What the Road Said.” The New York Times bestseller is about perseverance, leading with kindness and curiosity and being unafraid to wander.

“I said to the road, ‘Where do you lead?’”

“The road said, ‘Be a leader and find out.’”

Speaking to her fellow graduates, Moller said, “The road will look different for all of us as we have future diesel mechanics, doctors, linemen, therapists, welders, cosmetologists, military personnel and nurses going out into the world but no matter what road you take, hopefully you can look back on this experience and remember all you have learned.”

Salutatorian Andy Jones was next up to the podium. He thanked the faculty, teachers, students and the community “F\for giving us the tools we need to succeed,” and emphasized, “We are so fortunate to grow up here.”

He noted Sublette County School District No. 1 (SCSD1) provided them with “a super good education that’s capable of putting us wherever we want to go” while reminding his peers that graduation from high school is “just a step.”

Valedictorian Chase Dorrity spoke next. He reminded the Class of 2023 that, “No matter where you find yourself, what hardship you face, what setbacks you encounter — you are always capable of doing something great!”

“I’m not going to force you to do something great though, I’m not your mother! It’s up to you.” Dorrity quipped.

He closed his speech by saying, “I am Chase Accidentally Wore Sandals to Graduation Dorrity and I’m here to wish you goodnight, good luck, Godspeed and brush your teeth.”

Principal Brian Brisko recognized the students who attended schools in Pinedale from kindergarten through high school, adding, “I believe you’re the first class that actually started in the (new) elementary school.”

Special recognition was given to all the staff in the elementary and middle schools, parents, grandparents and guardians, teachers, SCSD1 Superintendent Shannon Harris and everyone who helped organize the commencement ceremony as well as local organizations, businesses and individuals who donated scholarship funds.

The Presidential Education Award was presented to Cade Covill, Ceili Fallon, Noah Sletten, Mikayla Drake, Dorrity, Jones and Moller — all students who earned GPAs of 3.5 or higher and received at least a 25 composite score on the ACT.

Seniors then broke away from the stage to join the PHS band Ruckus and director Justin Smith. The choir performed “Nothin’ is Gonna Stop Me” by Pinkzebra, under the direction of Gregory Allen and accompanied by Marianne Mrak on the piano.

“I feel like nothin’ is gonna stop me. You think I’m bluffin’, step back and watch me. You won’t see me fade me away, no, I’m here to stay and I’m tellin’ you nothin’ is gonna stop me.”

The performances were followed by a slideshow featuring photos of the PHS Class of 2023 in candid snapshots from their younger years compared with their senior portraits.

Speaking to the Class of 2023 one final time before students received their diplomas, Principal Brisko said, “I’m super proud of what you’ve done to get here and I look forward to seeing what you accomplish in the future. I think our world is in good hands and I know you are going to do great things.”

As senior class president, Moller read each of her classmates’ names as they crossed the stage.

While Brisko handed out most of the diplomas, parents and guardians who work in SCSD1 presented diplomas to their graduates during the ceremony, making for many heartwarming exchanges on the stage.

The graduates were met with the sounds of cowbells, air horns, screams and applause from the audience.

Gathered back together in the center of the Wrangler Gym one last time, the PHS Class of 2023 made things official, with graduates turning their tassels and tossing their green and white caps toward the ceiling.







Video News