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Utah's smallest senior class celebrates graduation night


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PARTOUN, Juab County — Graduations are being held at high schools all across Utah this week. Some schools graduate hundreds of students; others, just a few dozen.

One little high school in Juab County is boasting the state's smallest graduation class this year: two

Friday night was graduation night West Desert High School's both seniors.

"Just me and my best friend," Trevor Timm said. "It's really cool."

That best friend, Austin Lewis, was equally excited. "I can't believe it's time already," he said.

Lewis is the valedictorian, and Timm, well, he came in second.

"We tried hard to see who would get the higher grades," Lewis said.

"I knew he was gonna get it," Timm admitted.

But these two young men are about as close as you can get.

"We've known each other since we were little kids growing up with each other," Timm said.

Partoun, the small town where West Desert High School is located, is one of a handful of small towns in the west desert near the Nevada state line. The school has 10 students total, spanning grades seven through 12.

"We are small, but we try to run it like any other school," said Zachary Taylor, West Deseret's only teacher. He's also a school administrator, and says he loves his job.

"I get to know (the students) one on one, versus a class of 500 where I maybe know a name but I don't know who they are and where they're from and what their interests are."

Sports is one interest. The two graduates started team roping this year, and Timm often drove two hours to Delta to be on that school's wrestling team.

"It's cool in there because you got friends, lots more people — girls," Timm said with a smile.

It's true. In Partoun, dates for the senior prom can be hard to come by.

"Well, all the girls here right now are my cousins, so I don't date no one out here," Timm said. "If I want to date, I drive to town. That's for sure."

It's true, life in rural areas has its own unique challenges. But it's a lifestyle the graduates say they wouldn't trade for anything.

"You learn a lot of life lessons," Lewis said. "Like a lot of times during lunch hour, we'd go get stuck in the mud and have fun having the principal come pull us out with his tractor after school."

And no matter where their lives take them from here, they both know they'll always have that bond. "It's just home. You can't beat that," Timm said.

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Alex Cabrero

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