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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton senior class vice president remembered at graduation, funeral set for Saturday at Hillcrest High

Jun 08, 2019 09:24AM ● By Julie Slama

Ashtyn Poulsen (center) returns home from Seattle after her third bone marrow transplant. Poulsen died Monday, two days before graduation, but not before receiving her diploma at the hospital from Principal Tom Sherwood. (Suzanne Poulsen, by permission)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]


An unoccupied chair sat on stage at Brighton High’s 2019 commencement exercises June 5, where about 450 seniors graduated. The chair belonged to senior class vice president Ashtyn Poulsen. 

Poulsen had been fighting Acute Undifferentiated Leukemia since she was 12 and recently traveled to Seattle for her third bone marrow transplant, Principal Tom Sherwood said.

“She has been in and out of remission, but her body basically didn’t accept that last transplant,” he said. “Ashtyn had missed some school, but she always was making up work, trying to stay up with her class.”

She died Monday, but not before Sherwood presented Poulsen, dressed in her cap and gown, an honorary high school diploma at the hospital.

“We knew she was struggling, and it was close to graduation, so this was a way for her family to celebrate her. She was in high spirits and full of gratitude. Our students have done a great job honoring her and her memory, and our teachers continued to support her throughout her four years at Brighton,” Sherwood said.

Poulsen’s funeral will be held at 1 p.m., Sat., June 8 at Hillcrest High School in Midvale.