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'Dream big,' Huntsman tells USU Eastern grads

Flanked by academic leaders and honorees, Jon Huntsman addresses USU Eastern graduates.

Sun Advocate reporter

Finally the moment had arrived. After all of the homework assignments, quizzes, papers, late night study sessions and tests, this was the moment to celebrate.

But now the real work begins.

For USU Eastern graduates, Saturday was the culmination of hard work. Whether it was the first step along their path in education or the final step after returning to school despite many years away, each graduate was able to walk across the stage with a great sense of accomplishment.

Throughout the commencement ceremony, graduates heard from many different speakers including Valedictorians Nikki Jeffs, a mother of six children who returned to school after 17 years, Ken Williams, who also returned to school after a 15-year break, and Scott Edward Potter.

Each had their own take on their journeys in life and how each graduate can take the experiences from their time at USU Eastern and apply that towards other areas in their lives.

Jon Huntsman was selected as this year's commencement speaker and spoke briefly of how he first came to the area in the 1970s to go dirtbiking and the importance of small communities and the roles they play in society.

Before finishing his speech, Hunstman gave all graduates seven lessons in life that can help along the way. They included: •Do what you know is right, despite the consequences;

-No matter how dark life can get, do not give up. Keep moving forward;

-Don't buy into the doom and gloom news about America. The world is looking to America for the next big growth, he said;

-Pick your friends and mentors carefully;

-You are only as good as you think you are;

-Dream big. We become what we think about, he explained;

-Find someone to love. Life is incomplete until you do so. And the most underutilized words out there today: I love you.

Other awards handed out during the ceremony included Keera Allred being awarded the Val J. Halamandaris Caring Award for her outstanding service by a student.

Also during the ceremony, Price City Mayor Joe Piccolo was presented with the Chancellor's Medallion for long-time service to the campus and community.

Piccolo was born and raised in Carbon County and has lived in Price City for his entire life.

A total of 508 students graduated in the class of 2012.

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