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Granite High graduates should not fear failure, but rather should take courage and believe in themselves if they should stumble in life, the class valedictorian told them Thursday night.

Drawing on the life of Abraham Lincoln, the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, an 18th century writer and even a quirky want ad from a newspaper, Dai Lam Phuong emphasized the need to believe in oneself and to inspire others."Even if we stumble many times," he said, "we will eventually conquer the obstacle if we never stop trying. Do not let others tell you it can't be done. Believe in yourself and always think in terms of, `I can, I will.' "

The valedictorian was one of four speakers at the class of 1991 commencement excercises to use the class theme, "Tomorrow's Rewards Come From Today's Achievements" as their point of departure in their speeches Thursday night.

The ceremony was held in the Granite High stadium, where 306 students received their diplomas after being presented by Granite principal Louie J. Long.

Student body vice president Cindy Ann Leppard read the inspirational thought, and Matthew Peck, senior class president, gave the official farewell before the audience and the graduates joined in "Song of the G," accompanied by the high school concert band.

Salutatorian Rebekah Peterson reminded the graduating seniors that they are about to enter the "real world," and pointed out that students who had to do community service to compensate for bad citizenship marks are learning a valuable lesson.

"Not attending class on time, or enough, brought its own reward," she said. "This idea carries over into the future because if you are late to your job frequently, or you don't show up at all, you will soon gain the dubious honor of being fired."

To the question, "Am I not an achiever?" only one answer is possible - "Yes," said speaker Kim Kinyon. And speaker Celia Sharp drew a parallel between the need to husband our resources through recycling and the need to use the knowledge gained in high school so that it becomes more than "floating debris."



Graduation theme: "Tomorrow's Rewards Come From Today's Achievements."

Location: 3305 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City

Number of graduates: 306

Senior class officers: Matt Peck, president; Robert Gehrke, secretary

Student speakers: Dai L. Phuong, valedictorian; Rebekah Peterson, salutatorian; Kim Kinyon; Celia Sharp