Student goes from dropout to Dixie High graduate
Jud Burkett / The Spectrum
Dixie High School graduate Enoch Barlow

Dixie High School graduate Enoch Barlow, second row at center, along with his classmates, applauds for the teachers who helped them along the way to graduation during commencement exercises at Burns Arena on Wednesday.

ST. GEORGE - In 5th grade, Enoch Barlow, then living in Colorado City, had to drop out of school and start working, and wasn't able to start classes again until he was nearly 17.

But there he was last week, just two years later, draped in a blue cap and gown and joining his Dixie High School classmates for graduation.

"It was pretty exciting, but I was pretty tired at the same time," Barlow said of somehow working his way to 28 credits and earning his diploma in just two years, all while working part time and often staying on friends' couches.

It took perseverance and huge effort - his counselor said he didn't miss a day of night school or summer school - but Barlow said all the work was worth it. And in the end, he'd achieved a goal few thought possible - he walked on graduation day with his own class.

"A lot of people were saying I couldn't do it and that just pushed me to do it more," he said.

Lisa Mitchell, guidance counselor at DHS, said it has been an inspirational story. Barlow simply walked in, asked what it would take to graduate and then set to work.

"He never missed an opportunity to further his education," she said, pointing out that by the time he graduated, Barlow was on the high honor roll with a 3.9 GPA and finished with the highest end-of-level test score in biology in the entire school.

"We provided the opportunity, and he accomplished his goal," Mitchell said.

Like many boys coming out of the polygamous communities in Colorado City, Barlow was behind in his education, but he said he was anxious to learn.

While working with some high school students in 2010 he said he was anxious to learn more about it. He pestered them about what to do, eventually worked with Mitchell and put in the work necessary to finish.

"I was just talking with friends, asked about school and kind of starting working on what it would take to get in," he said.

It made for some long nights, but now he's gone from an undereducated teen doing manual labor to being on track to be a doctor in just two years - he plans to attend Weber State University next year and major in biology, with his eyes on medical school eventually.

"Even when I was a little kid and always had a lot of injuries, I liked that the doctors were able to help," he said. "I want to help people."

He plans to enlist in the Army National Guard to help pay for his education and said he was ready to do what it takes to keep progressing.

Given his track record so far, few people are doubting him.

Louie Barlow, Enoch's cousin, graduated as well last week, and he said people have been impressed with how far Enoch has come.

"He just pushed everything else aside and did his own thing," Louie Barlow said.
Originally published May 29, 2012