The Jackson Hole Classical Academy only had three senior graduates this year, the first students to graduate from the private Christian school.

“It’s just the three of us. In other words, the tripartite soul; the main Kardashians; the Powerpuff Girls (since Pete is the honorary girl); the Trinity; Zeus, Poseidon and Hades; Snap, Crackle and Pop, ”said Jacqueline Neishabouri, a senior graduate, who spoke out early Friday on behalf of her classmates since she’s been at the Academy for the longest time.

Neishabouri joined in sixth grade, Peter Cook in seventh and Samantha “Sammie” Fairbanks transferred after a year and a half to Jackson Hole High School.

Jackson Hole Classical Academy graduates Jacqueline Neishabouri, Samantha Fairbanks and Peter Cook III: the trio are the first to graduate from Classical Academy.

“This gang has gone through the ups and downs of the pandemic,” Neishabouri told the gathered crowd.

Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in matching navy robes and caps, the inaugural class occupied just three chairs in the first straight row on Friday, the first of many debut trinities.

Robby Kuhlman, the academy’s founding director, presented graduates with three words for living: “Magnitude, Courage and Gratitude. Then he gave them one last Latin test, to see if they could analyze the meaning from the roots of each word. The young schoolchildren rolled their eyes and obligated themselves happily.

The teachers officially introduced each graduate, basing their feelings on Bible verses.

For Neishabouri, math and science teacher Ian Landis referred to Psalm 16. History and language teacher Laura McMillion introduced Fairbanks with a passage from Proverbs, reciting: “The heart of the wise makes good speech. and adds persuasion to her lips.

The teacher also gave Fairbanks three attributes: adaptability, reliability and good taste.

For Cook, formally Peter Smith Cook III, it was Proverbs 22: “A good name is more desirable than great wealth, to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. More than anything, math and science professor Kirby Feaver wanted to celebrate Cook’s integrity.

“You are respectful and honest, both with your peers and with your instructors. You are a good friend. And there have been times this year as the only man in the class, I’m sure the friendship has been put to the test, ”she said with a laugh.

Jackson Hole Classic Academy

Jackson Hole Classical Academy teacher Zachary Hughes adjusts Peter Cook’s mortar board ahead of the early Friday night ceremonies.

Ahead of the ceremony, Cook said he liked the one-on-one attention he received from the Classical Academy, a sentiment shared by fellow graduates.

“Having that personal connection and learning every subject in depth changed everything, like, made me who I am and made me love learning,” Neishabouri said.

Fairbanks, who was often bored in public high school, found inspiring vigor in the private curriculum.

“It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely the right thing for me at the time. The skills I learned have definitely changed me for the better, ”she said.

In high school, Fairbanks danced and played tennis. She also enjoyed the theater, off-piste skiing and mountain biking. When chosen for her first Off Square Theater Company production, she said, “Honestly, it really changed her life. It was nice to find a place where I was like, “Oh, yeah, this is where I belong. “”

She’s heading to Utah State University to study interior design in the fall.

Neishabouri was Fairbanks’ tennis teammate for a brief stint, and she said they called themselves “thug buddies” for their matching pink sneakers – although Fairbanks doesn’t exactly remember them like that. After a year on the courts, Neishabouri switched to golf and thrived on the green.

Jackson Hole Classic Academy

Jackson Hole Classical Academy graduate Jacqueline Neishabouri speaks at the school’s first-ever opening ceremony Friday at South Park School.

She has already performed in two state competitions and on the shores of Scotland. In two weeks, she will be heading to the 2021 High School Golf National Invitational in Pinehurst, North Carolina. She plans to pursue sports in college at Wesleyan University, where she will pursue a major in economics and a minor in computer science and modeling.

In the long term, she would like to get her master’s degree from Harvard Business School and start her own business.

Cook is also seeking success in the business world, which plans to attend Montana State University to major in business management and finance.

During his winters in Jackson Hole, he immersed himself in the backcountry, first on skis, then on snowmobiles, which he nicknamed “sleds”.

“It’s noisy with your sled, but there is a peace just in being in nature with four of your friends,” he said, adding that while he is looking forward to a change of scenery, the mountains will always hold a special place in his heart.

Jackson Hole Classic Academy

Jackson Hole Classical Academy teacher Laura McMillion adjusts Samantha Fairbanks’ mortar board ahead of the early Friday night ceremonies.

School principal Polly Friess gave the opening speech on Friday, celebrating the students and faculty and remembering her late grandfather, billionaire philanthropist Foster Friess, who passed away last week. In her comments, she said emotions are “still a bit raw” since her passing, but her generosity lives on in the making of this institution.

“Foster has helped this school come to life. And he was passionate about bringing the beauty, wisdom, virtue, knowledge and love of God to young men and women and equipping them to reflect his love in all their endeavors, ”said Kuhlman. late in the ceremony.

When the graduates finally turned their tassels, Polly Friess was beaming with pride.

“You opened our way and you did a great job. Thank you. We are so proud of you.

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