Like most young men, I love barbecue. In the days leading up to Memorial Day, my Grandpa Loveridge spent a considerable amount of time researching recipes for the perfect ribs. He watched the food network and perused “all recipes.com” on the internet looking for just the right blend of herbs and spices. He woke up early and created his special marinade, then set the ribs to soak in all of the flavor. The longer they soaked, the more the flavor infused into the meat.
The result was AMAZING. Famous Dave has NOTHING on my Grandpa. The ribs were transformed into something divine.But I didn’t come here to talk about barbecue. I came to talk about marinade. Recently, my dad was on a plane next to a very talented and gifted singer and actor. He asked him if he was currently making a living in Hollywood. The man replied that no, he wasn’t, and that he was a teacher here in Utah. My dad was surprised, because he had heard that this man WAS in fact headed to Hollywood. But the man replied, “my mentor told me “REGARDLESS OF YOUR ORIGINAL INTENTION, YOU WILL EVENTUALLY BECOME WHAT YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH.” Today we sit on this stage, proof of what we have surrounded ourselves with. We have spent countless hours marinating and soaking in what I consider to be GREATNESS. Spencer W. Kimball stated, “You can change by changing your environment. Let go of lower things, and reach for higher. Surround yourself with the best in books, music, art, and people.” At Carden, we have been blessed with a great ENVIRONMENT.
Whether we loved them or not, our uniforms and ties and patches and blazers lent an air of dignity to every single day we walked down the halls. We sat in beautiful classrooms with moving quotations posted everywhere. We were privileged to see and get acquainted with beautiful works of art, including classics from the most talented painters in history. Marble busts of the greatest of Americans accented our studies on these inspired men. We learned beautiful music, recited poetry and speeches that have left their mark in our minds and on our hearts. We have been surrounded by greatness. Carden also gave us EDUCATIONAL greatness. From Latin and French, Longfellow and Bach, we soaked in principles and formulas that taught us how to study, write, and learn. We dissected a cow’s eye. We memorized endless lines from Shakespeare, and eventually even began to understand what we were saying! We learned to say “Je ne sais pas et je ne comprend pas”, and how to discern between an isosceles and right triangle. We crowned Mr. (Or Miss) Geography, and learned to spell words like “calliope” and “snarky.” Yes, we have been soaking in educational greatness. We’ve also been blessed to be taught in SPIRITUAL greatness. We began each day with a devotional and prayer. In 1787, Benjamin Franklin stood before Congress and said, “I beg...that henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business...” Carden has followed that example. We have studied the Bible, and brought Christ into the center of our Christmas celebrations and programs. We have sung the hymns and have tried to conduct ourselves in a way that would allow the spirit to accompany us in our daily work.
Carden helped bring Spiritual greatness into our lives. Sitting in this room, all of us can see that we are completely surrounded with SOCIAL greatness. Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker observed, “You are the average of the five people you hang around with.” Here on the stage, and out there in the audience, are hundreds of examples of the amazing friends, family, and teachers we are blessed to associate with. We have loving and thoughtful parents who have sacrificed to send us to this school. We are grateful for their gift of education and opportunity. Through Carden, we have associated with great peers. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Yes, we have been walking with wise men.
The great young men and young women in this class are some of the smartest, kindest, and morally driven people I’ve ever known. They are thoughtful and generous. They remember each other’s birthdays, encourage one another, and lift everyone around them. They are the greatest of the great. We have amazing teachers. From Kindergarten all the way through E Form, we have been guided and directed by loving advisors who have helped us get to this moment right here today. Mr. And Mrs. Jeffs created a school that has a wonderful educational basis, but the true greatness lies in the ability and depth of their teachers. We are grateful for Mrs. Smith and her animated teaching style and ability to bring out our inner Dick VanDyke and Mary Tyler Moore.
We will forever remember Mrs. Cordon and her silly phrases and exclamations that punctuated her teaching. “In Two Shakes–Speedy Q. Get your bod up here.” We appreciate Mrs. Brewerton and her fun sense of humor and personal jokes with us. And so, here we stand, products of our marinade. We have surrounded ourselves with environmental, educational, spiritual, and social greatness. So what have we become? We have been given every opportunity to be the best that we can be, and now is the time for us to take that greatness, and use it as we go forth from Carden into new and exciting horizons. George Washington said, “Good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned, but virtuous.”We are leaving Carden, but Carden is not leaving us. It is a part of us, and always will be. It has made us who we are. Throughout our lives, we will see Carden in us again and again. We’ll see Carden when we stand up to greet another person, when we read great literature, and when we recite the Pledge of Allegiance. We will see Carden when we appreciate beautiful music and study classical works of art. We will see Carden when we are generous, and when we suppress our greed and jealousy. Yes, Carden will always be in us. Carden is greatness, and now, Carden IS us.We honor Mr. and Mrs. Jeffs for their vision and perseverance in giving an elevated education to the thousand of students who have walked these halls. We will always remember, and will try and make the world in front of us a better place through the lessons we’ve gleaned here. Thank you.