teton high school graduates throwing hats into air

Eighty-three students graduated from Teton High School on Friday, May 31, 2019, according to Teton School District #401 officials. This group joins the fifteen students from Basin High who received diplomas on Wednesday, May 29, bringing the graduation total for this year from the two public schools in Driggs to 98.

The theme of the THS graduation ceremony was “The Adventure Begins.” The evening was marked by music, student engagement, and an enthusiastic crowd of family, friends, teachers, and staff. Noteworthy, as Superintendent of Schools Monte Woolstenhulme said, is the Class of 2019’s own talent and confidence, on display as graduates spoke and performed to the packed gym audience.

In his brief remarks, Woolstenhulme quoted a nine-year-old niece who recently said to him, “I eat fear for breakfast,” thinking he would share that with the graduates as encouragement. Instead, he said, “I just need to get out of their way.”

  • He also announced statistics that reflect the graduates’ accomplishments.
    The THS Class of 2019 accumulated 816 hours of college credit during its time at THS, the equivalent of seven bachelor degrees.
  • As of late Friday, THS students in the Class of 2018 had received nearly $2.8 million in scholarships and awards from a wide variety of institutions and other funding sources. This amount includes all funding awarded, not just what the student intends to use at their university or college. (The program distributed at graduation listed $2,406,418 – but that amount grew between printing and the ceremony.)

Teton School District #401 Board Chair Chris Isaacson presented the graduates with their diplomas; the full school board was on hand to congratulate them, along with THS Principal Samuel Zogg and Woolstenhulme. THS Vice-Principal Brody Birch read each student’s name. Parents and grandparents of graduates — those who had either served on the school board or are current faculty or staff at the high school — were also included in the presentation to their respective seniors.

Other tidbits of interest:

  • The seniors chose a quote by Oprah Winfrey as its class motto: “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”
  • The speeches, by the three graduates with the highest academic rating, continued the adventure theme. Sophia Sperber’s talk was titled “Seeking Adventure.” Twins Annie Pauroso and Marah Pauroso, who joked that even their classmates still can’t tell them apart, did a tag-team presentation called “We Believed We Could, and So We did.
  • Senior class officers and other students played instrumental roles in the THS ceremony:
    • Janie Nelson, class president, offered the welcome and final congratulations. She and Student Council president Sofie Graupner compiled the traditional slide show of current and baby photos of graduates. They also led the changing of the tassels.
    • Nelson’s welcome and the invocation by graduate Cameron Birch were translated into Spanish by fellow graduate Maria Hernandez.
    • Senior Class treasurer Halle Lasson announced the senior class gift — refinishing of the stage floor in the THS auditorium.
    • Juniors in the National Honor Society presented flowers to the graduates and were responsible for setup and cleanup of the gym.
  • For the first time in at least 40-plus years, a full student orchestra performed the traditional Prelude “Pomp and Circumstance”
  • The senior song was an original blues composition by graduates Alison Bates and Miles Butler, performed by Bates and Maria Hernandez on vocals, with Butler on piano, Boone Hunter on drums, and Bridger Clark on bass guitar.
  • The 15 senior members of the National Honor Society, wore white stoles, led the processional, and were recognized after other graduates’ names were announced.
  • More than half of the graduates received scholarships, according to the ceremony program.
  • As a courtesy to family and friends who cannot attend in person, the THS graduation was again live-streamed on the school district Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube.

    The archived video; the link to it is