Graduation a sign that times are changing fast in Utah’s polygamous border towns

Balloons fall on Water Canyon High School’s graduating class of 2017. | Photo courtesy of Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News, St.George News

HILDALE, Utah — As the graduation anthem played, the Water Canyon High School class of 2017 marched in to cheers, smiles and tears.

The 25 students who received their diplomas represent a deeply divided small town’s hopes and dreams for the future.

“It’s an honor. I’m happy to be here!” said Roy Jessop, the class valedictorian.

Amy Barlow said her graduation is also for future generations.

“It teaches the little ones they can do it too! It grows. I love it!” she said, surrounded by balloons that fell from the ceiling and hugs from family and friends.

The students are also a sign of rapidly changing times. Water Canyon School is Washington County’s first public school since Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs ordered faithful followers to pull their children from public schools back in 2000.

Jeffs is currently serving a life sentence in a Texas prison for child sex assault related to underage “marriages.”

Read the full story here:

Written by BEN WINSLOW,

Copyright 2017, KSTU. A Tribune broadcasting station

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