Canyons District has announced the dates and times of its 2016 high school graduation ceremonies.

History also will be made this spring when Diamond Ridge High, Canyons' new alternative high, holds graduation ceremonies for the first time. The first cohort of students at Diamond Ridge, now housed at the Canyons Technical Education Center, 825 E. 9085 South, is made up of 16- to 18-year-old students who previously were seeking high school diplomas at Entrada, Canyons’ adult high school.

Alta High
— Thursday, June 2, 10 a.m., University of Utah Huntsman Center

Brighton High — Thursday, June 2, 2 p.m., Maverik Center

Corner Canyon High — Thursday, June 2, 1 p.m., University of Utah Huntsman Center

Hillcrest High — Thursday, June 2, 10 a.m., Maverik Center

Jordan High — Thursday, June 2, 6 p.m., Maverik Center

Diamond Ridge — Wednesday, June 1, 7 p.m., Board Room, CAB-East

South Park Academy — Wednesday, June 1, 8 a.m., Timpanogos Oquirrh

Entrada — Tuesday, June 28, 7 p.m., Mount Jordan Middle School

Jordan Valley — Thursday, May 26, 11 a.m., Jordan Valley School

For the recent graduates of Entrada, Canyons District’s adult high school, the well-known words of Yoda are more than a memorable quote — they’re a mantra to live by.

In fact, “Do or do not; there is no try,” was the motto of the year for Canyons District’s adult high school and a recurring theme at Tuesday’s graduation ceremony at Draper Park Middle School. A proud group of 34 graduates, out of a class of 127 students who graduated throughout the 2013-2014 school year, donned caps and gowns to commemorate their inspiring accomplishment.

Several students shared stories of the challenges in their lives that made graduating from high school difficult, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving goals. “It would have been so much easier to give up, but I didn’t quit,” Mercedez Laguna, a single mother who went back to high school as an example to her daughter, told her fellow graduates. “For me, getting my high school diploma is a stepping stone to a better future. For me, my dream doesn’t end here. I plan to go to college and get my bachelor’s degree so I can show my daughter that with hard work and determination you can do anything.”

Students thanked their teachers for giving them the support and confidence that they needed to further their education. Many of the students who attend the school are single parents with multiple jobs, or come from difficult financial situations — but they don’t let that stop them from getting an education. “It’s never too late,” graduate Marcela Sanchez told her class, as she described how she attended Entrada while working two jobs — one full-time and one part-time —and raising two kids. “If I did it, so can you.”

Representatives from Canyons District, including Robert Green, a member of the Canyons Board of Education, and Karen Sterling, Director of Student Advocacy and Access, attended the ceremony and congratulated the students on their success. Completing high school while navigating the seas of life can be challenging, Sterling told the crowd, but it’s worth it.

“You had the courage to turn head long into life’s storm and you are better for it,” she told the audience. “Your education is the most important thing you will do today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life. It will open the world to you.”

See our Facebook page for a photo album of Entrada's graduation day.