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The six Escalante graduates after graduation.

High school is over for me, and will soon turn into a distant memory. In five years time, I will probably be close to forgotten as Student Body President and just another person you’ll see in an old yearbook. But I hope in some ways my legacy will live on, and I hope you might take to heart some of these things I’m about to tell you.

Being your Student Body President has been an absolute honor. I have learned so much throughout my years of service on Student Council. I want to give a huge thanks to my other Student Council members. Colton White (Vice President), Benjamin Peterson (Secretary), Nadia Griffin (Activities Director), and Madi White (Historian). I could not have done it without them. I also want to thank our beautiful, amazing, talented advisor Savannah Steed, the faculty, staff, and Principal Peter Baksis, for putting up with all of our crazy ideas.

The amount of change I have seen is insane. So in this moment, just take a second to appreciate how far you’ve come. And see how far you’re going: every single one of you has SO much potential. You matter, and you are capable of making a difference. It’s just about your mindset. Life is only as good as you make it. 

Time is limited. How you choose to spend it will determine how the rest of your life will unfold. Your thoughts become your words and your words become your actions. So be careful how you think, and take control of your mind. 

Be happy, enjoy life, and allow yourself to experience high school because these are days you will never get back. How do you want to remember them? Walk into every day of life like it’s your last. Be more kind. Smile a little bit more.

Get involved. Participate. Be proud. You are a Moqui! Whether you are here for another year or another seven, you are one of us. It is a part of your identity. Own it. Pride yourself in the fact that you come from somewhere full of people who would do anything for you. Be proud to be from a place that will accept you for who you are and take you back with open arms after a hardship. Ohana. Family. 

We’ve learned there is magic happening everywhere around us. It comes from that one joke someone made in class, that made everyone break out crying from laughter. It comes from those late night bus trips filled with the deepest of talks or screaming songs at the top of your lungs. It comes from that one person that compliments your outfit daily. Or seeing the two girls gossiping in the corner about some silly guy. It comes from the feeling of reassurance when your friend hasn’t yet started that assignment that is due in just hours. 

The magic is in the small things, and also sometimes the hard things. It’s walking out of the other side of a heartbreak or recovering from losing a friend. It’s in the drama that feels inescapable, until it all passes like it never happened. 

Please I beg you to appreciate ALL of it. Because it comes to an end, as does everything. Soon the high school magic will be over, and as happy as you will be to escape it, you will be equally as nostalgic.

I love you. The passion I have for this school is practically bubbling out of me. Please just love. Love yourself, love your friends, and love every single experience, good or bad. Spread your light to every person you meet, show them how being a Moqui has impacted you

You are going to do great things. I don’t doubt that, and I’m always here for you. Never forget this: spirit is the energy you bring to the environment. It has nothing to do with the circumstance and everything to do with your reaction and attitude. 

You have my heart and so much of my love. Keep being amazing. It’s time to start my new chapter but first, for kicks and giggles just one more time…MOQUIS on 3!! 1..2..3 MOQUIS!

– Your 2022-23 Student Body President, McKynlee Cottam, Escalante High School

Feature image caption: McKynlee and her fellow graduates after their graduation on May 26, 2023.