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Threats to the world's ecology, the value of a high school diploma, the relative ease of attending school today and the value of following one's own ideals are some of the touchstones of the Valley High School graduation speeches.

About 150 seniors graduated Wednesday evening, in a ceremony held at Eastmont Middle School, 10100 S. 1300 East, Sandy. Valley is located nearby, at 11020 S. State, Sandy.Echoing Shakespeare, Rebekah MacKinnon declared, "All the world's a stage."

But "these are not words from my own making. My grandpa spoke these words at his graduation ceremony in 1932." Her grandfather, Ellery Anderson, was the fourth of 15 children. "He was the first of his family to graduate from high school," she said.

MacKinnon urged the students to remember that high school education wasn't always served on a silver platter. "It is important to remember just how lucky we are," she said.

Scot Kerbein said, "I didn't learn to diagram a sentence at Valley High School, and I didn't memorize the atomic structure of the uranium molecule. However, I was taught to be a critical thinker and I feel I know the true meaning of the word responsibility.

"I never got into advanced trigonometry or human biology, but I've learned to be courteous and reliable."

"I've also learned to question authority rather than follow it blindly. And I've learned to be my own person with my own ideals, my own values. And I've learned to believe in myself."

David Conway noted that the world is "threatened by the greedy hands of man, as he cuts down the forest, pollutes the environment and breaks up the ozone."

He added, "All of us must start working together to nurture our dying planet back to health, to rid the world of suffering," and to help better all mankind.

Timothy Sharp pointed out the huge variety of choices that open to a person upon completing high school - including choices about jobs and career changes.

"High school is one of the major stepping stones in our lives that we can't do without - so don't kid yourselves when it comes right down to it."