Submitted by Cheryl Ovard
“Create a plan...but remember - be prepared to change the plan!”, words of advice from a young Morgan High School graduate and who has followed her plan - and finding out that “plans change” - and Melissa Ovard has made the changes successfully by following her simple goals she made early in her life. Her story of how it “all came down” to leading a full and successful career now moving forward with confidence was told to the North Summit and Morgan High Schools’ Sterling Scholars at a Recognition Banquet hosted by Holcim, (US) Inc. The evening of March 29th Sterling Scholar Nominees from these two schools came with their parents to enjoy dinner with their families at Larry’s Chicken Inn in Morgan.
Welcomed by Holcim Plant Manager Keith Krugh, Sterling Scholar Nominees were honored for their dedication to learning and “celebrate academics”. Krugh mentioned that growing up in a small town of about 5,000, it seemed to him that those who excelled academically were not recognized as often as the athletes. (They also deserved recognition...don’t get me wrong), but It is important for you to know that “... this night is for all of you - and you are recognized by (your) teachers . Enjoy this night...feel good about yourself.” He then introduced Kevin Ovard, Holcim (US) Inc.’s Environmental Manager. Kevin, Melissa’s father, is not only proud of his daughter’s accomplishments, but encouraged her to make her own decisions -and then turned the time over to her to share her story with those present.
Melissa Ovard, now carrying a title of “Senior Business Development Specialist International Development Group, Parson’s Corporation, Washington D.C. has been successful thus far in her career by trying to follow her simple “words of advice” - the second of which follows the first of “create a plan...and being prepared to change the plan...which is “...always surround yourself with people who believe in you and in your dreams - don’t be around haters!” Melissa included a few (other) “concrete” goals which included: graduate from college, go on a mission and find a husband! With these goals in mind, she completed them one by one...graduated from BYU - then went on an LDS mission too Korea - which helped her learn about her home town where she was born (as she was adopted from there at the age of four months), and then...she still has to fulfill the “husband” goal! Moving with a friend to New York City seemed right for her, and her career and confidence grew - but...her 3rd “words of advice” of “...don’t be afraid of failure”, soon became a reality - as she met ups and downs in her life as many do.
She did find a job, and ended up staying in a career that allowed her to travel the world, met two United States Presidents, gave polio shots to people in India, and turned down an opportunity to work with “Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2008 -as I am a Democrat!” Although there were many obstacles in her career and goal searching, she advised the students to remember these “words to live by”...”make goals and create a plan - the plan is always going to change...always surround yourself with people who believe in you and support you...and last but not least...don’t be afraid of failure!”
Following the dinner students were honored one by one with a certificate of achievement from Holcim, presented by Plant Manager Keith Krugh (pictured), and called up by their school’s Principals Russ Hendry, North Summit High School and Wade Murdock, Principal Morgan High School. Comments from the two Superintendents, Holmes (NSHS) and Adams (MHS) were then expressed, and Counselors Rhonda Butcher (NSHS) and Linda Morrison and Carol Pentz (MHS) were given a token of appreciation from Holcim.
Parents, loved ones, and teachers “...will feel the thrill and excitement when your students are called up at the competition! We congratulate you, students and …never sell yourself short because you came from small high schools.”