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CYPRUS: SALUTATORIAN DOWNPLAYS ACHIEVEMENTS

When Mark Colton was in elementary school, he didn't know the meaning of a "salutatorian," much less dream that he would one day hold that title.

However, after three years of attending Cyprus High School, Colton, 18, has the second highest grade point average of his graduating class and earned the title of salutatorian. With a 3.995 GPA, he follows closely behind friend and valedictorian Jenifer Jones, who has received more media attention than himself.Yet Colton isn't bothered a bit.

"There's not a whole bunch of competition between us," said Colton, who has known Jones since kindergarten.

In fact, Colton does not keep track of his achievements or hers. During a phone interview, he did not remember his awards and had to refer to a plaque, certificates and pieces of paper to refresh his memory.

"Let me look at this plaque first," he said.

Some of his achievements include a four-year scholarship to the University of Utah, three-year membership in the National Honor Society and president of the Cyprus chapter, an annual scholarship award from Magna Lions Club and a Presidential Academic Fitness award.

Colton was also a National Merit semifinalist. However, he forgot to meet an SAT application deadline in December and was eliminated as a finalist.

"I can live with that," Colton said. "I never really pushed for that (titles). I pushed for my own satisfaction."

Although Colton may not express regret, school counselor Tim Collins said, "If he had taken the SAT, he could've been a merit scholar. He's a very bright kid."

Colton may have played "second banana" to Jones throughout the year, but he was in the limelight during commencement ceremony Friday as he addressed his peers who were decked out in dark or light blue robes. Other speakers included Jones; Judith Larsen, board member of the Granite School District; and Elwood Clayton, director of secondary education of the Granite School District.

Of the 401 graduates, about 160 are going to college within the next six months, with one student attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. About 80 students received scholarships totaling about $200,000.

"We've got a group of leaders and a lot of outstanding students," Collins said.