Out of 71 seniors in the class of 2018, 29 are lifers—students who have attended Rowland Hall for 12 or more years. Our seniors earned admission to 118 different institutions of higher education and will matriculate to 39 colleges and universities. Five members of the class of 2018 were named National Merit Semifinalists, and 88 percent received at least one offer of merit-based aid.
Rowland Hall's seniors performed at the highest level inside and outside the classroom. They participated in the Science Olympiad and University of Utah's Bench-to-Bedside competition, winning the Best Young Entrepreneur Award. Fifteen students—our largest-ever group of senior debaters—traveled across the country as part of our nationally ranked team and won countless local tournaments. Five qualified to the National Speech and Debate Tournament, four will debate in college, three qualified to the Tournament of Champions, two were named Academic All-Americans, and one was a State champion. Members of the class of 2018 trained as painters, dancers, sculptors, and singers. One is a cellist who performed for two years with the New Hampshire All-State Orchestra, and another is a visual artist who sold her first piece at age six.
Our seniors led our athletics program to top-five finishes in the Deseret News 2A All-Sports Awards each year of their high school careers. They captured 31 Region and nine State titles as teams, and individuals collected 10 State and Region titles in tennis and golf. Eight of our seniors were selected to play in the postseason All-Star Games of their respective sports this year. Outside of school, one achieved the highest level of scuba certification and another won championships in the 0.9-meter and 1.0-meter jumping classes of horseback riding. One was named the MVP of an international volleyball tournament, while another was a two-time gold medalist in karate at the Junior Olympics. Of the nine seniors in Rowmark Ski Academy, one was named to the U.S. Ski Team, and three are members of Australian National Ski Teams. Their ski-racing successes include three U16 National Championships, three FIS Western Region Junior Championships, two World Cup starts, and a fourth place at this year's World Junior Championships.
Students in the class of 2018 were generous with their time and talents, coaching club soccer teams, singing weekly at the local Veterans Affairs medical center, and running the school's stage crew. Their work benefitted local organizations, from the Salt Lake Peer Court to St. Mark's Hospital to Park City's Mountain Trails Fund. Their service had broader reach as well—one student organized a clothing and toy drive for an elementary school in Kenya, and another volunteered in Turkey helping the Syrian Relief Network translate documents and deliver goods for a year and a half, even though his original plan was to stay two weeks.
Many of our graduating seniors have a strong commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice. Their service projects grew into passion projects, creating documentaries about high school students in the Navajo Nation, lobbying for the passage of Indigenous People's Day, and advocating for undocumented immigrants. One student received the Utah Office of Multicultural Affairs Excellence in Education Award for his community-building work. Another was interviewed twice on KRCL's RadioActive program for his work with the American Civil Liberties Union and Camp Anytown. Yet another embraced a role as a teen advisor with the United Nations Foundation's Girl Up program and used it as a springboard for activism, committing to co-write a book to enhance girls' education in Utah.
The class of 2018 demonstrated leadership in myriad ways: serving on student council, rallying their peers as sports team captains, facilitating advisory conversations in the Middle School, and devoting hours to their religious communities. One senior worked with Sustainable Startups to turn an interest in gardening into a successful urban farm, donating over 1,000 pounds of produce to local organizations such as the Utah Food Bank.
Our seniors completed internships at the John A. Moran Eye Center, Twig Media Lab, Grand Teton National Park, and the Natural History Museum of Utah, to name a few. One even obtained an internship with Utah Jazz radio personality David Locke and learned how to research, analyze, and write reports on NBA draft prospects. When not studying, volunteering, or participating in co-curricular activities, several of these students go to work as dishwashers, camp counselors, or lifeguards. One senior spent an entire summer working construction 10 hours a day with a group of stonemasons.
These 71 outstanding young adults will continue to make an impact on the world in college and beyond. Please join us in congratulating the class of 2018 and celebrating what they have achieved thus far in their young lives—only some of which we have included here. We cannot wait to see what they do next.