Friendship was an essential building block to success at Skyview High School for many members of the Class of 2003, and it is what will be remembered most when they are gone.
The theme of cherished friendships is one that resounded among the 118 graduates when co-valedictorian Christina Colvin said in her address, "I'm going to miss the friendships. And I'm going to miss the teachers that act like friends."
It was such friendships that Cameron Gardner said marked his tenure at Skyview and what he will remember most about the school.
"It seems like at Skyview, everybody pretty much has a common friendship," he said. "You can pretty much sit down and talk to anybody."
Gardner said his circle of close friends could easily resemble anyone's at school, from punk rockers to quiet "gothic" types to movie makers, like himself.
"There are all kinds here," he said. "And it's easy to be friends with anyone."
This includes teachers, he said, and pointed out how close ties with some of his instructors were helpful when a heavy load of science independent study courses became overwhelming.
"They were great," Gardner said. "If I had a big test in another class, Ms. (Heather) Truesdale would let me turn in an assignment later."
One Skyview friend in particular introduced Gardner to the school and was there to give support throughout his tenure, he said. Skyview wrestling coach and Cameron's father Neldon Gardner guided the graduate for four years on the mat, even though sometimes this support seemed a bit much.
"Dad is always behind me pushing me," Gardner said. "And sometimes, I'm like, 'why am I doing this sport?'"
But he answered his own question.
"He's my idol," Gardner said of his father. "We have our ups and downs, but he's my best friend."
And by wrestling under his father's tutelage, Gardner said he felt completing his high school education was that much more gratifying.
"I've been attached to Skyview since forever," he said. "I was always here with my dad for wrestling. I've been with it for so long, it seems like I've reached the pinnacle of the challenge."
Gardner graduated with a 3.65 grade point average (on a 4-point scale) and will attend Boise State University in Boise, Idaho, where he is enrolled in a five-year mechanical engineering program. He said he hopes to find something that challenges him there.
"I'm looking for something to really get involved in and pour my heart into," Gardner said.
In his keynote address to the graduating class, Skyview teacher Paul Zobeck issued a challenge that Gardner and his classmates should be able to meet.
"When you leave here, pick good friends," Zobeck said. "Pick friends that encourage you to do your best."
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