ROCK SPRINGS – On Friday, April 24, Sweetwater County School District No. 1 announced the extension of school closures until May 21 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The news means no prom and a level of uncertainty about graduation for the senior class at Rock Springs High School.
For most of them, they grew up together. They developed lifelong friendships and relationships, sharing memories and laughs throughout the years that they will cherish forever.
Senior student-athletes Rhys Brandt, Alyssa Bedard, Shaunti Longfellow, Carson Tyler and Justis Reese shared some of their favorite memories they have had over the last four years while playing sports and attending class at Rock Springs with the Rocket Miner.
Brandt, who played volleyball, said her favorite memory came this past fall when the volleyball team stamped its mark in Tiger history with a run to the state tournament.
“I have really enjoyed my time at Rock Springs High School and have made a lot of great memories, but my favorite has to be beating Star Valley at regionals to go to state for the first time in 7 years,” she said.
“It was such a euphoric moment rushing to my teammates in the center of the court, like I can’t even describe how amazing it felt and how happy I was.”
Bedard, who played soccer for the Tigers, had a similar memory. Her soccer squad reached the semifinals at the state tournament for the first time in school history her junior year. She was proud of the work her team had put in since her freshman year to finally reach their goal.
“My favorite moment of my time at Rock Springs High School is hard to pick because there have been so many great ones, but if I had to choose, I would say it was winning our first game and making it to the semifinals at state soccer last year,” she said.
“This was something that my team had been trying to do since my freshman year, and it was the first time RSHS had accomplished that. So, being able to make history like that with my team was amazing.”
Unfortunately, Bedard and the rest of the Tigers who play spring sports were stripped of their opportunity to compete this season because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“It is by far my favorite time of year, and my team had really high expectations for this year, so not having a chance to accomplish our goals is really disappointing,” Bedard said. “It’s really hard to believe that I’ll never play with my high school team again and that I played my last soccer game at Rock Springs High School as a junior.”
Longfellow, who runs track, was also one of the many athletes who missed out on competition this spring.
“I had very high goals for myself that I wanted to reach and I wasn’t able to, so that was really hard for me to accept,” she said.
However, Longfellow’s favorite memories came from the daily schedule being at school has to offer.
“All the laughs with my friends in classes, practices, assemblies and games are my favorite high school moments that I know I will cherish always,” she said.
But it’s not just classmates that became friends. Tyler, who played football, said some of his favorite moments came from the classroom with the teachers.
“My most enjoyable moments attending Rock Springs High School were connecting with teachers who become your friends,” he said, adding the bus rides to and from football games with his teammates are memories he’ll remember forever.
For Reese, who played football and basketball for the Tigers, enjoyed watching everyone develop and grow as athletes and people.
“Being able to see how we all progressed over the years is kind of crazy,” he said, adding that most of the friends he made came from playing sports. “From being a small little freshman, to being a senior and getting ready to be separated to follow our dreams was really cool to see.”