By Rich Place

Being compared to pieces of wood probably wasn’t exactly how the Class of 2018 at Springville-Griffith Institute thought they’d spend some of their time at commencement on Saturday, but senior class president Mallory Robel made the analogy work.

She was the master of ceremonies during the school’s 188th annual commencement for the 164 graduates who walked across the stage and receive their diplomas to end their high school careers.

After telling a story about how she and her sisters would help her father cut wood in the winter — an attempt at team building and character, she said — Mallory said each piece of wood had its rightful place on the pile.

Likewise, the same could be said about her classmates.

“During our time here at SGI, I have met some of the most interesting pieces of wood in my life,” she said during her farewell address. “However, thinking about the past four years here and looking at you all today, I see that we have all found our place on the SGI pile, forming a strong and connective family.”

Matthew Sion, the class salutatorian, admitted to the crowd he aimed to be first or third in the class, not second as he ended up, which he jokingly referred to as the “first loser.”

“But it turned out alright, so I can’t complain,” he said.

Matthew went on to give a unique graduation speech as he compared their quest through high school to Dungeons & Dragons, a game he and his self-proclaimed Nerd Squad would play regularly.

“This auditorium that we are in today is the belly of the dragon,” he said at the end of his speech. “This is our final hour. Walking across this stage is the last step, the last castle wall to smash, the last swing of our sword. Graduation is the last foe, it’s the last move that we are allowed in this tale.”

He concluded by congratulating his class.

“I’d like to personally congratulate the Class of 2018 for completing this quest and for heading off on their next tale,” he said. “So you guys, are you ready for another adventure?”

Genevieve Kraft, the valedictorian, told a story about navigating the high school hallways by only making right turns — what she called a “long story” that she wasn’t going to get into details about.

But it served as a metaphor for making paths through life.

“Choosing the right path does not always mean choosing the easiest one, nor even the most logical,” Genevieve said. “Our paths in life can be strange. They test our limits; our weaknesses and our strengths.”

She concluded by telling her class to “remember that you always reach your goal if you choose what’s right.”

The ceremony also included an address from Ian Paul Steff, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing for the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration. Steff was a SGI graduate in 2000.

Diplomas were presented by Jennifer Sullivan, vice president of the board; Kimberly Moritz, superintendent; and James Bialasik, high school principal.