by Tara Bone, contributing writer
The class of 2021 has experienced unique obstacles in a year of cancelled activities, endless COVID-19 testings, and daily mask-wearing. However, across Cache Valley students rose to the challenge and dedicated staff and faculty at Logan School District and Cache County School District have worked hard to create environments of learning and growth at school. Thank you, administrators, teachers, and staff, in every school — you made it possible for thousands of students to make it closer to reaching their dreams.
These six students, selected by counselors in each Cache Valley high school, represent the unconquerable spirit of our valley’s graduating seniors. They are bright, determined, and have overcome individual and unique challenges to reach this milestone in their lives. Congratulations Class of 2021!
Despite incredible challenges, Destiny Chalmers has proven over and over again that she will overcome any trial life throws at her with determination. Her life experiences have sparked her overall goals to love others and establish a healthy family.
For about nine years, Destiny and her two brothers were in the foster care system. She lived in at least five cities throughout Utah and overcame many difficult situations before she and her brothers were adopted by Michael and Kenna Chalmers of Hyrum. She was 14 years old when adopted, and says she is inspired by the Chalmers bravery to love her.
“I want to have a family, I want to make sure my family is healthy,” Destiny said. “I just want to love others and help others so what happened to me doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Destiny is on her way to making this happen. She says she loves to learn and plans to become a doctor. She has worked hard in high school and is taking classes at Bridgerland Technical College so she can jump right into her studies at Utah State University. Last year she became a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and works at Blacksmith Fork Assisted Living Center and Interim, a healthcare staffing agency.
Destiny still finds time to be involved at MCHS where she enjoys being a peer tutor for the life skills students, or students with special needs. She’s currently working to make it possible for life skill students to go to Senior Ball, the last school dance of the year. She says, “I want to make sure they feel welcome and have fun!”
She says it’s this feeling that helped her feel at ease at MCHS. “There are a ton of students who care at MC about their classmates, so many who want to make sure it’s a happy and safe place where everyone feels welcome.” It’s this she plans to take with her throughout her life.
Her advice to incoming freshmen: “If you see someone sitting alone, sit by them. Make sure everyone has a friend. The more people you help, the better you feel.
When Rider Lovejoy isn’t studying or working 10 to 60 hours a week with his father’s business, he can be found outside hiking, dirt biking, mountain biking, snowboarding, skating, or spending time with Koda and Caprice, his two border collies who love to hop in the back of his Jeep and head up the canyon. Simply put, Rider says “I love the outdoors.”
Rider plays hard outside and he has worked just as hard or harder in school to overcome challenges and succeed. For most of his life Rider suffered from chronic migraines and other health problems that were a mystery to doctors. He says he went to every possible doctor and finally found a way to manage his pain while in high school.
With his health in check, Rider was ready to reach his goals. He finished high school early, took a full load at Bridgerland Technical College, and will have all of his pre-requisites for the nursing program complete by the time he graduates.
Rider plans to become a nurse anesthetist and says he’s always known he wanted to go into the medical field. “I’ve spent so much time in hospitals,” Rider said. “I figured I might as well work there!”
Rider has enjoyed his time at Cache High. “Everyone [at Cache High] is awesome,” Rider said. “They all want to help students succeed.”
His advice to incoming freshmen: “It goes by a lot faster than you’d think. Stop and enjoy it.”
At first glance, Mayci Venhaus is a successful 2021 high school graduate who holds a leadership position at her nearly full-time job at Conservice and is an excellent student, having completed six college classes just this year. But a conversation with her reveals she is wise beyond her years and on a path to success.
Mayci’s journey to graduation took an unexpected turn. As a 15-year-old sophomore Mayci became pregnant. She said it was a huge reality check and feels the experience changed her life.
“I was in a dark place and didn’t have the self-love that I do now,” she said. “It wasn’t about me anymore, I couldn’t be selfish.”
During her pregnancy, Mayci chose to start online school and focused on her relationship with her mother and birth son, and did the “inner work” to love herself. She is grateful for the love from her mother and older brother during that time. Of the birth she says, “It was a very spiritual experience. I had never experienced a love like that before.”
Macyi placed her birth son in an open adoption and remains close with the adoptive parents. The lessons she learned would help her as she faced the challenge of going back to school. She said she realized “life is what you make it” and she was determined to face school and life with positivity.
Mayci said she knew the odds were against her, but she was determined to succeed. She is grateful for RHS’s counselor Tara Johnson and many teachers who were wise and supportive.
In the fall, Mayci will attend Utah State University and plans to explore social work or counseling. “I want to reach other girls or boys who need help and show them [their challenges] are not the end of the world,” Mayci said. “I want them to know they have a purpose and a future. That they’re not alone.”
Her advice to incoming freshmen: “Don’t give up. Be compassionate with yourself and others. Be soft with your judgments.”
Adam Frost is a renaissance man whose brilliance in a variety of fields has combined to propel him into a future that looks bright. Adam is a 17-year-old musician, mathematician, and avid reader who loves aviation and just happened to score a perfect 1600 on the SAT.
Though modest about his accomplishment, a perfect score on the college readiness exam that measures critical reading, math, and writing skills is rare. Only about 500 students out of the 2 million students who take the SAT yearly earn a perfect score. Adam says there was a little bit of luck involved and he was surprised.
“I woke up at 5 a.m. to check my score on the computer,” Adam said. “When I saw it, I reloaded the page a few times. I could barely believe it!”
High school hasn’t been without challenges for Adam. His family moved during his sophomore year and going to a new high school was an adjustment. Adam said he had to learn to be more comfortable with himself and work to grow in confidence, but music helped him do this.
Adam was principal trumpet and a band section leader at GCHS. He played trumpet in the symphonic, marching, pep, and jazz bands and said it was a fantastic experience. He feels one of his greatest high school accomplishments was becoming a principal chair in band. “It taught me how to really commit to something in an academic and leadership sense,” he said.
Adam plans to study aerospace engineering at Utah State University following his completion of a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He hopes to attend Stanford or MIT for graduate school.
His advice to incoming freshmen: “Enjoy the classes you take; just enjoy being in high school.”
Emily Rincon’s high school experience shows how conquering one’s fears can open unexpected doors. Emily started high school scared to talk to new people, but she overcame her fears and spent her senior year opening doors of friendship, unity, and understanding among all LHS students.
While serving in student government as Logan High’s historian, Emily used her photography and videography skills to, as she says, “highlight everything that’s awesome about this school.” She says her favorite high school memory was creating the video series, Simply Grizzly, a platform she created to showcase student talents, experiences, and successes to create stronger connections between students.
“I cried, laughed, and smiled throughout the interviews,” Emily said. “I wish I could spend the rest of my life making those videos. I have learned so much from my peers and I will always cherish those memories.”
Emily’s passion is photography and telling stories through images. She says she especially loves taking photos of people. “I love to capture people’s essence — as cheesy as that sounds,” she said. “I love to make them feel confident.”
Emily books photography sessions and hopes to better her craft by further exploring digital media as a photographer, videographer, and graphic designer at the University of Utah this fall. She will attend college with an academic scholarship, and is grateful to her LHS counselors and teachers who “have shaped me into who I am today,” especially Roger Rigby, Candace Muller, and Jen Fife.
Her advice to incoming freshmen: “Get involved in clubs and sporting events! It helps with college applications and it makes the high school experience 100x more enjoyable!”
In a world of competing distractions, responsibilities, and expectations, finding harmony — literally — was a challenge Luke Weaver met head on during his high school career.
Though Luke admits that he’s “a bit of a workaholic,” he successfully juggles his studies, work, love for the outdoors, and his commitment to developing his talents as a musician. A pivotal time for Luke was during the COVID-19 pandemic when he stopped to evaluate how he invested his time. He’d been feeling overwhelmed and refocused on doing what he truly loved — music.
“Music is my passion,” he said. “It has always been a huge influence in my life, a part from my family it’s the single constant that I’ve found.”
Luke plays the guitar and trombone, sings, and writes his own music. He enjoys all genres of music and feels that “music is an art form; there is not a greater emotional medium.”
Luke enjoyed being the drum major for Sky View High School’s marching band during the 2020 fall season and practices about 2.5 hours every day on guitar and writing music. Recently Luke auditioned for and was accepted into Utah State University’s (USU) nationally recognized guitar studies program. He was also accepted into the Huntsman School of Business and intends to double major in music education with a guitar emphasis and business marketing.
Luke enjoys spending time outdoors where he’s interested in conservation and likes to engage in physical work. Luke works in landscape at USU and somehow found time to earn wildland firefighter certification at Bridgerland Technical College. His discipline and focus have prepared him to take on the world.
His advice to incoming freshmen: “Their whole lives are before them and they can make the absolute most of it if they show they have the desire and will to work hard enough.”