HONORING THE CLASS OF 2020

Despite missing out on graduation, senior upbeat about the future

May 16, 2020, 9:06 AM
Students in graduation caps. The Utah graduation rate went up over the past few years....
Utah graduation rates continue to see in increase. Photo: Butch Dill, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — The coronavirus pandemic may mean a number of students are missing their high school graduation ceremonies across the U.S., but one Utah senior is not going to let the virus to destroy her hopes for a bright future.

Faith Smart, a graduating senior from Skyridge High School in Lehi, has an incredible story. Despite living in the foster system and moving from house to house, she’s graduating runner-up for state Sterling Scholar. She also lettered in swimming after never having been on a swim team. Her dream is to become a surgeon. She is headed to the University of Utah in the fall to do just that.

Missing graduation, but not the message

Faith joined Lee Lonsberry on Live Mic to talk about missing out on the pomp and ceremony of high school graduation and to share advice for her fellow seniors.

“How are you handling all this?” Lee asked her.

“It’s definitely been hard,” she said. “But I’ve made sure to stay optimistic. There will be activities during the summer that the [high school] administration is going to be putting on for us. And I’m very grateful to have that still. 

“I’m still extremely sad on missing out on fun adventures with my friends. . . the prom and graduation. But I’ve made sure to just look on the bright side of things and not give up hope that I’ll still be able to make those adventures this summer and live my life how I want to,” Faith said.

Bullish about tomorrow

“How are you able to maintain your positivity?” Lee asked.

“I’m with my grandparents right now. They’ve definitely contributed to my happiness and optimism. We make sure to do fun activities. We play a lot of board games. A lot more than I thought I ever would in my entire lifetime,” Faith said.

She said for skills night, they spend 30 minutes every evening doing something they haven’t before. Faith said she’s learning to play the guitar.

“You’re a high achiever? How did you get to be so accomplished?” Lee asked her.

“Honestly, by my parents. They pushed me to work hard and never give up. Once I have a dream in mind, there’s nothing that will get in my way from accomplishing that,” said Faith.

She said next year she will be attending the University of Utah to study pre-med and hopes one day to become a surgeon. 

Setting an excellent example

“What advice do you have for the fellow seniors out there who may be listening or who may be sitting in your same circumstances and missing out on all the things they look forward to over so many years?”  Lee asked.

“Let yourself be sad because that’s totally valid. What we’re going through is something that no one has really gone through.

“We are allowed to feel those feelings. But once you have felt all that, pick yourselves back up and work toward your dreams. Don’t stop giving up hope now. Work through and accomplish what you strive to do,” Faith advised.

Lee thanked her and said he was grateful for the example she is setting for others  — and keep playing that guitar.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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