Caprock Academy graduates find strength in diversity

Caprock valedictorian Madison Markakis is overcome with emotion as she talks about how accepting her fellow seniors are despite their differences during her address at the school’s graduation ceremony Thursday at Caprock Academy.



Every graduating class has their own unique character and chemistry that sets them apart.

Members of the 2017 graduating class from Caprock Academy will be remembered for their over-developed sense of humor and an uncanny ability to question popular culture and authority. 

These characteristics will serve them well in the future, said keynote speaker Howard Butcher, who addressed the large crowd of family, students and staff at the school’s graduation ceremony Thursday morning.

“Humor is one of the best defenses to overcome many things in life,” Butcher said.

He wove an analogy into his speech that compared the class’ characteristics to those of literary character Huckleberry Finn and the philosopher Socrates.

Like Finn, he said the 11 graduating students were loyal and bonded.

He then credited each of them with an ability to challenge credibility and be skeptical of ranks and titles in society, like Socrates. “I wish you great success,” Butcher said. “Work hard, have fun and don’t lose your sense of honor.”

Valedictorian Madison Markakis held back tears as she explained the uniqueness of her class to the audience.

Markakis said most often, people look for differences in one another rather than looking for what they may have in common.

“Imagine what a better place this world would be if we stopped,” she said. “I’m proud to graduate with these seniors who all get along despite our differences.”

The ceremony also included the presentation of the Senior Thesis Award to salutatorian Cleo Gross. Her 20-page thesis, “What is the Good Life?” was an essay that compared pirates to modern life. Gross said a good life would include independence, genuine relationships, and knowing yourself.

Andrew Collins, director of support services, advised students to not live in the past or for the future, but to remain always in the present.

“Think of it as a book with numerous pages that are still blank. Don’t let what has been or will be control who you are right now,” Collins said.

The ceremony ended with the turning of tassels and a line of hugs and shared tears among the graduates.

“This is definitely something I will hold near and dear,” Markakis said. “My senior class(mates) really are my best friends.”


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