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Former Utah lawmaker Jack DeMann urged Mount Vernon Academy graduates to go out and drink, lie, swear and steal, but it was not the negative advice it might appear at first glance.

DeMann, who will retire from Hercules Aerospace's public affairs department to become executive director June 1 of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, was the commencement speaker Thursday night.He joined student speakers Dee K. Waddell, Michael A. Trump and Stacy Lambson in marking the end of their secondary school eduction.

Trump advised classmates to remember to be true to the image in the mirror. He said they should become involved citizens as those who are "preparing the future for the next generation."

Waddell said the commencement marked the end of one life and the beginning of another. Lambson was the class valedictorian.

DeMann borrowed from a speech given by Fred Ball, Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce president, to give advice to the dozen students at ceremonies in the school, 184 E. Vine St.

"Drink in all the knowledge and wisdom you possibly can. Knowledge is power. Wisdom is the ability to use it properly. Never quit learning. Drink in knowledge every day.

"Swear to do the best you possibly can. Swear that you won't be trapped by the most tragic word in the English language: `almost.'

"Swear that you will give an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Swear to be honest, ethical, moral and God-fearing in your conduct. Always swear to do your best and no one will ask you to do more.

"Lie down tonight before you go to sleep and think of how blessed you are. Lie down and think of how lucky you are to live in the finest part of the finest country in the world.

"Lie down tonight and think of all your blessings and then remember the truism that we like to hear so much in this valley that says where much is given much is expected. You have been given much. Now, for heaven's sake, give something in return.

"Steal a little time every day for meditation, for reflection, for God, for prayer. Life is sometimes very difficult, we all have problems, and it is difficult for us to accomplish the many things we wish to do. We all need help from the Creator to make it in this world. So, every day, steal a little time for prayer."

DeMann handed out copies of that part of his speech to the students.