GHS announces Class of 2023's top students

Marlys Good

Emerald Jordan, Catcher Russell and Torrey Sanford will share valedictory honors for the Greybull High School Class of 2023, while Cale Wright holds salutatory honors. Each will address family and friends during commencement exercises May 21 at 1:30 p.m. in the GHS gymnasium.

All four of the high-achieving students are members of the National Honor Society and have been involved in a wide variety of activities during their high school careers.

Emerald is the daughter of Heidi Collingwood and Travis Jordan and she has three siblings. She has attended school in Greybull since kindergarten.

Emerald said living in a small town and attending a small school has both positives and negatives, but “I’ve cherished every moment of it. I’ve always wanted to get out of this small town, but with the memories and involvement that it has given me, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.”

Her favorite thing about Greybull is the community and the way “people step in to help whenever they can, such as the TJ Davis fundraiser and the construction of the public pool.”

Emerald said if she had a chance to “do-over” her high school years, she would quit trying to fit in or make people like her.

“Trying to fit in got me nowhere, whereas being myself got me a lot farther than I could imagine. People will like or hate you no matter who you choose to be. Trying to be someone I was not was exhausting and not worth the friendships that won’t last a lifetime. Now I am beyond happy being myself and being friends with people that actually care about me.

“I’m grateful for the hardships that high school threw at me because I’m stronger and more successful than I ever thought I’d achieve,” she said.

Catcher, the son of Richard and Cassie Russell, is the oldest of their four children. His brother Grainger is a sophomore and his two sisters, Kalli and Charley, are in middle school. He too has attended school in Greybull since kindergarten.

Catcher’s list of interests and activities is a long one and includes, in his own words, “a little bit of everything.” He’s a member of Academic Challenge and Student Council, which he’s been involved with since his freshman year. In addition, Catcher joined Annual Publications (Yearbook), NHS, Art Club and FBLA.

Yearbook was a perfect match and became Catcher’s favorite activity. He has been the editor for the past three years.

“I have really enjoyed having a bigger role in creating the yearbook the last couple of years. Mrs. Forcella, the yearbook advisor, librarian and Academic Challenge coach, has been one of the most influential teachers in my high school career. She helped me discover and hone my talent for photography, along with helping me get the TouchWall up and running.”

He is still waiting to hear back about scholarships before making a final decision on what college he will attend “I received the Trustee Scholarship, so I’m leaning toward a degree in accounting or computer science from UW.” But, he adds, “I might settle for something else.”

Catcher said growing up in a small rural community has taught him the importance of hard work and independence.

“There isn’t a fast, easy road to success. You have to put in the time and rely on yourself. No one else is going to do it for you.”

He advises upcoming freshmen to “get involved. It’s a great time to expand your horizons. Don’t be afraid to try new things.”

Torrey is the daughter of Mark and Heather Sanford. She is the middle child in the family; her sister Grace graduated last year, and her brother Bennett will be a freshman this fall. She’s been in Greybull schools since kindergarten.

Torrey has been involved in various activities within and outside school. She participates in FBLA, FCA, NHS and she played on the Lady Buffs basketball team. She’s also a member of her youth group.

“Some of my favorite school memories are from homecoming week with all the fun games and competitions, especially powder puff football,” she shared.

Her favorite subjects have been science and math. “I love both and have enjoyed anatomy and calculus the most.”

There was no hesitation in answering who had the most influence in her life.

“My parents have been my biggest support through school and have always pushed  me to do my best. Mr. Blissett, my math teacher, has also had a great impact on me. He has encouraged me to be a leader in class and makes me enjoy calculus a lot more. My dad and Mr. Blissett’s classes make school a lot more fun and interesting. I appreciate all of my teachers for believing in me and challenging me to do my best.”

Torrey plans on attending college where she will study pre-physical therapy to prepare herself for graduate school where she will earn her doctorate in physical therapy.

Next year’s freshmen could learn a lot from Torrey’s advice: “Take things seriously but also make the most out of it. Grades are important, but so are the memories you are going to make. Get involved in as many things as you can without overwhelming yourself. Being involved in clubs and sports makes high school so much more fun.”

Torrey plans to apply the same advice to her future. “High school has been a lot of fun, but I am definitely looking forward to the independence and opportunities that come with college.”

Cale Wright is the son of Ken and Tami Wright. He is the youngest of a trio that includes his older brother Bryce and older sister Kendall, both of whom graduated from Greybull as well.

He’s the only one of the four honor grads who did not attend kindergarten here, moving to Greybull with his family when he was in first grade.

Cale has been involved in several activities including FBLA, NHS and Student Council, but he spent most of his time honing his skills in basketball where he was a perennial letter-earner and he secured all-conference recognitions back to back. His love of athletics extends to baseball, which occupied his summers—he earned all-state and all-conference honors there as well.

Cale said attending a small school has allowed him to “get way more involved throughout the community. The relationships I have been able to create in a small town like this have been something that I will cherish forever.”

His parents remain “the two most influential people in my life; they’ve instilled a standard and a certain way to carry myself that I will always be grateful for. They’ve been my biggest supporters in everything I do, and they will always be there for me no matter what.”

Cale plans to attend Utah Tech University and major in exercise science with a goal of becoming a physical therapist.