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Sunday Profile: Rick Tadus, driving the future

Born in New Mexico but raised in Rifle, Rick Tadus has been chauffeuring the youth of the Roaring Fork Valley as a school bus driver for 23 years.

His father was a jewelry repairman, so out of high school Tadus went on to the Kansas City School of Watchmaking to help out with the family business. That involved a move back to Raton, New Mexico in the early 70’s.

Before the move, Tadus met his wife, Marsha, in 1971.

“We actually met when I was umpiring a softball game and she was playing,” Tadus said. “She was born and raised in Rifle.”

“I promised her (Marsha) that we would always move back to Glenwood,” Tadus said; which they did, in 1985.

After working various jobs, Tadus eventually opened All Valley Pest Control in 1996. Looking for some extra income, he started driving a bus for the Roaring Fork School District in 1997.

Rick Tadus greets kids as they hop on the bus at Sopris Elementary School.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“I was good friends with Carol Burns, who at the time who was a driver trainer for the district. She approached me about it and since I had driven a bus before, it wasn’t that big of a deal,” he said.

Tadus worked for the Silt and New Castle Recreation Program in 1971 and drove kids to and from Glenwood for swim lessons and baseball games.

“I’ve always liked kids, so that helped me make that decision. I wasn’t afraid to be around kids,” he said.

The smiles, hellos and see you tomorrows from the kids show that they enjoy Tadus, also.

“You try not to get attached, but you become friends with them, especially when you have the elementary school kids. I have young adults now who have young families of their own that I see at Strawberry Days, and they still remember me from when I was driving them to school, so that’s rewarding,” Tadus said.

Rick Tadus has been driving kids to and from school for the Roaring Fork School District for 23 years.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Tadus predicts within the next five years or so he will be driving the kids of the kids he drove to school many years ago.

Driving a bus while also keeping track of 40-60 students is no small task. Tadus’s head is on a constant swivel between watching the road and checking on the kids in his rearview mirror.

“I get along with 99% of the students. The school district has a write-up system for any kids that misbehave on the bus,” Tadus said.  “This is my 23rd year and I’ve written up less than 10 kids” 

Tadus drives one of two bus routes that go up Four Mile Road each morning and afternoon.

“I love my route up Four Mile. I like going up there every morning not knowing what we are going to see, from deer to elk to bear or moose,” he said. “The elementary school kids get pretty enthused, especially when we see a bear.”

Rick Tadus has been driving kids to and from school for the Roaring Fork School District for 23 years.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Tadus has worn multiple hats for the school district, including being a driver trainer for the new guys, which he admitted was his favorite role.

Jared Rains, who is the Transportation Director for the Roaring Fork Schools, was one of the lucky ones who was trained under Tadus, because he enjoyed teaching the new guys how to drive safely.

“Rick taught me how to drive a school bus in 2016; he had my job at that time,” Rains said. “I continue to lean on him for advice, guidance and insight.”

“He is a regular sounding board for many of our drivers, myself, my staff and the district executive team regarding transportation issues,” Rains added.

Aside from the kids and his love for driving, Tadus thoroughly enjoys the people he works with.

“Just a great bunch of people … We all have a common goal of student safety. It’s all about getting them home to school and school to home safely,” he said.

Now retired from his business, Tadus continues driving as a way to get out and about in the mornings.

“I’m a morning person, so I’m up. And now that I’m retired, it gives me something to do to occupy my time, Plus, I still enjoy the kids,” he said. “There are times when we tell jokes and we visit. I just really enjoy it.”

cself@postindependent.com

YouthZone column: Teens benefit from caring adult relationships beyond family boundaries

While there are exceptions, the predominant portrayal of family in today’s cinema, television, advertising and social media suggests parents should be able to support their children entirely within their own families. This is an unrealistic expectation, even in the healthiest of families.

A growing body of evidence indicates the most protective force in our children’s lives is the connection they have with family, but research also tells us that raising independent, well-rounded children in today’s complex society requires going beyond the parent-child relationship, beyond individual homes and out into wider circles of social interaction.

The time between childhood and adulthood is a difficult journey that is different for each person. Second only to the first years of life, the rapid development during adolescence includes a myriad of physical, cognitive and emotional changes.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, teens are in the process of identity formation. They are absorbed by questions of who they are, what ties them to others, and what makes them unique.

As adults, we know these internal questions persist throughout our lives as part of the human experience. What’s different for teenagers is that they are asking these questions about themselves for the very first time. Because they don’t yet have the life experience necessary to provide context or perspective during this process, young people need to be able to connect to non-parental adults and they need to be provided expanding space to live and grow.

A great deal of research supports the notion that these extra-familial relationships are key to the healthy growth and development of young people, but substantial portions of teens who report having these types of relationships still report that they often feel lonely, disconnected and unsure of themselves. The quality of the additional relationships influences the outcome.

In a recent study involving 671 U.S. parenting adults, researchers examined the most positively influential interactions between youth and adults (both familial and non-familial). They identified commonalities in these Developmental Relationships that help young people discover who they are, develop abilities to shape their own lives, and learn how to engage and contribute to the world around them (Relationships First, Search Institute, 2017).

Researchers found the adults in these positive relationships were more likely to express care, challenge growth, provide support, share power, and expand possibilities (Don’t Forget the Families, Search Institute, 2015).

While these results underscore the power and importance of developmental relationships, they also suggest more is better when looking at how many of these influential engagements a teen has in his or her life. Just as a spider depends on its web for safety and sustenance, a teen depends on a web of developmental relationships to shape and influence many aspects of life.

We know that all relationships are not the same, and as children grow toward adulthood the adults they rely on will naturally change over time. It is to be expected that while some developmental relationships will fade, others will grow in influence. It is the sum of a young person’s developmental web of relationships throughout their journey to adulthood that determines the overall effect on his/her life.

In short, we don’t all need to be everything to every teen at all times. But each of us can be a part of some young person’s web.

YouthZone provides comprehensive assessment and advocacy to inspire healthy relationships between youth, families and communities. If you would like some advice or support regarding a teen your life, please give us a call at 970-945-9300.

Keith Berglund joined the YouthZone team as the assistant director in 2019. He earned a degree in marine biology from Occidental College. His first job as a middle school science teacher and basketball coach launched him on a career path that provided more than 25 years of experience as a teacher, youth mentor, public servant, nonprofit manager and Love and Logic facilitator.

Getting paid to learn about the great outdoors

From organic farming to trail building, the Outdoor Careers Internship will give local high school students the opportunity to get their hands dirty this spring.

Provided by Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers with funding from Great Outdoors Colorado and Garfield County Outdoors, the internship — now in its second year — will run for 10 weeks.

“We have structured this very intentionally where we are offering the internship on the day when students are not in session,” Ben Sherman, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers education director, said.

Between Feb. 21 and May 8, interns will spend their Fridays working with, and learning alongside members of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Fat City Farmers and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers.

For over 50 years, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies has provided environmental education to the region. Additionally, since 2006, Fat City Farmers has taught food education in the Roaring Fork Valley by fostering gardens and greenhouses at area schools.

“With just three organizations we thought we were covering a great breadth of interest that a lot our students have had in the past,” Sherman said.

The third organization — Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers — like the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and Fat City Farmers also promotes stewardship of public lands through trail and other restoration projects.

“Students really get a taste of what some of these outdoor focused careers might be like,” Sherman said.

Each semester, the Outdoor Careers Internship accepts students from different area schools.

Only Coal Ridge and Rifle High School students between the ages of 15 and 19 may apply for this spring’s Outdoor Careers Internship.

“We do have many more applications than we have spots,” Sherman said. “The reason that we have kept it so small is we really want to have a focus on all of those students that are accepted.”

For application details, email Ben Sherman at bsherman@rfov.org.

The Outdoor Careers Internship pays $12 an hour and interested students have until Jan. 22 to complete their application for consideration.

mabennett@postindependent.com

Superintendent search begins Thursday for Garfield Re-2

The search for retiring Garfield Re-2 Superintendent Brent Curtice replacement officially begins Thursday, when the job vacancy will be posted on the Colorado Association of School Boards website.

Curtice has served in the position since the summer of 2016.

With the help of facilitator John Merriam with Colorado Association of School Boards, the district has been holding focus groups and outlining what the district and community are looking for in a brochure.

“The school board really wanted to involve the community and all the stake holders in the process for hiring the superintendent. Much like we did when we hired Mr. Curtice,” Garfield Re-2 Director of Communications Theresa Hamilton said.

Garfield Re-2 has 4,800 students and over 800 staff members across three communities in 10 buildings in Rifle, Silt and New Castle.

Hamilton estimated that they put over 150 people in front of the facilitator during 16 focus group sessions.

The process included three focus groups in New Castle, two in Silt, and 11 in Rifle to accommodate the teaching staff, administrators, classified staff and community members, Hamilton said. Covering two-and-half days, information gathered was presented to the school board during a workshop last week to help set some of the qualifications, and also as a guide to some of the questions that will be asked as part of the interview process, she said.

“Just to hear what things they think are going well in the district, what are the things they would like to see changed and what characteristics they would like to see in the next leader of Garfield Re-2 School District,” Hamilton said.

“It was a pretty intense schedule.”

The school board reviewed and finalized the job posting during the Tuesday evening regular board meeting held at Rifle Middle School.

A deadline for applications was set for Feb. 20, and finalists will be invited to Rifle March 18-19 for formal and informal interviews.

“We will start invitations and assembling our staff and community members for the interview teams at the end of January,” Hamilton said.

The total process will take approximately three months; the new superintendent will start July 1 of this year.

Hamilton said it is like managing a small city.

“Ultimately, the responsibility of all that lies on the superintendent, so there are a lot of things that the person in that position must mange well and have their finger on the pulse of.”

kmills@postindependent.com

A flare for the dramatic at Rifle High School

Every year, Colorado Thespians selects two schools to present their high school production during ThesCon in Denver.

For the first time in club history, Rifle High School was selected for its production of the modern musical “Matilda.”

The idea for the musical began when a couple of students attended a production of “Matilda” on Broadway and fell in love.

“It’s been something that’s been kind of floating around the club for a couple years, kids singing songs and talking about it. The second it came available we decided to go for it,” third-year drama teacher David Van Alstyne said.

David Van Alstyne
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“It’s a pretty unique show and has a good message that kids can still change the world and stand up for themselves.”

Months in the making

Van Alstyne said they secured the rights to “Matilda” in December of 2018. The club didn’t officially start working on the production until August of last year.

“I did a lot of managing when we first started the show … making sure everyone had their line and the blocking,” RHS senior and stage manager Jean Niederkorn said.

After weeks of set design and construction, along with rehearsals from August to October, the club presented six performances at the high school from late October through the first weekend of November.

“Once the show began and they were off book, it was making sure all the cues were in place; knowing when lights were going up, sound and spotlights, and making sure those were all on time every single time,” Niederkorn added.

Jean Niederkorn
RHSDrama-rct-011620

Van Alstyne was very thankful for the community members who came out and supported the show. 

“Our last one was sold out to where we were lining up chairs and we had to eventually close the place because of fire code reasons,” Van Alstyne said.

Successful state audition

During the productions run, the club invited an adjudicator from Colorado Thespians to take in the show.

“They sent someone over from Denver to watch the show and take notes, and we also submited online,” Van Alstyne said. “We sent everything in, including set designs and a video of the first half hour of the show.”

When Van Alstyne and the club found out they were selected, the fun really began.

As part of being selected, the club would have to perform their production twice during the 2019 Colorado State Thespian Conference last month.

They had to practice setup and tear down as they prepared for the show, which would be on a stage five times bigger than the stage at RHS.

“We pretty much had to go through and restage the entire show on the bigger stage, so we moved everything out into the cafeteria and then we practiced setup and tear down and loading into our trailers,” Van Alstyne said.

Niederkorn said it was really exciting to be selected, It was a lot of work. During that time she said she would average 6-7 hours of work after school to make sure the show was ready.

“I had a lot of late nights at the school just because I wanted to give my 100 percent for the show,” Niederkorn said.

She added that when they first began it was definitely chaos, but as they practiced it became more organized chaos.

The conference was held Dec. 12-14, with the club performing two performances — one for 2,500 students during the day and then their opening night performance.

“The performance itself is really the peak of Colorado Theater — it’s winning state,” Van Alstyne said. “We performed for an audience of 5,000 people, as part of the opening ceremonies, so we had every theater kid from the state of Colorado there watching us.”

After being honored for their fall production, Van Alstyne and the club are not sitting idle, as they kick off the new year wanting to grow the club and interest more students to join.

Program growing

The club has more than tripled since Van Alstyne came to Rifle three years ago with nearly 70 students in the drama club.

“We have our spring play coming up. It won’t be a musical; it will be all acting,” Van Alstyne said.

Auditions for the production of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile began on Monday.

Van Alstyne said it is a smaller production, with more serious acting for some of the veteran students.

The club will end the school year with student-directed one acts. Van Alstyne said they are a little more laid back. The students get to try their hand at leading a cast of their peers.

In the fall, the students plan to do another musical, but are still deciding what they want to do.

“We are thinking something more classic, since ‘Matilda’ is a more modern musical,”Van Alstyne said.

kmills@postindependent.com

Plans, funding coming together for new ‘safe route’ to Glenwood’s Riverview School

Riverview School students living in the nearby Ironbridge and Westbank neighborhoods south of Glenwood Springs could have a safer route to school by fall.

The Roaring Fork School District, Garfield County and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority are finalizing plans for a new trail connection along County Road 109, across the Roaring Fork River and connecting to the existing Rio Grande Trail.

The Roaring Fork Schools board last week approved an inter-governmental agreement — including funding commitments from each of the participating entities — to pay for what’s expected to be a $1 million-plus trail connection.

In addition, the school district and Garfield County were awarded a $500,000 Colorado Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School grant, and the school district was awarded a $200,000 Garfield Federal Mineral Lease District grant to help fund the project.

The county and school district have also jointly applied for a CDOT Transportation Alternatives Program grant in the amount of $500,000. That grant decision is still pending.

The project is at about the 90% design phase, Roaring Fork Schools Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gatlin said.

As planned, the trail would extend from the point where an existing trail ends at the north end of the Ironbridge subdivision. From there, the new trail would follow CR 109 to the old iron bridge itself, which would be repurposed as a pedestrian bridge.

The trail would then cross County Road 154 and traverse the hillside up to the RFTA’s existing Rio Grande Trail on the old railroad corridor.

Students and other users would then be able to follow the Rio Grand by bike or foot to the existing trail near Orrison Distributing that accesses the Riverview School.

“We already have a great resource there with the Rio Grande Trail, so this new trail would serve two purposes — getting students to the school in a safe manner, and giving people who want to recreate a new way to get to the Rio Grande Trail,” Gatlin said.

Gatlin said improvements would also be made to the current Rio Grande crossing at CR 154, including a user-activated flashing beacon at the crossing. Grading and removal of brush from the area should also improve sight lines for both pedestrians and motorists at the intersection, he said.

Safe access to the pre-kindergarten-through-eighth grade Riverview School for students wanting to walk or ride their bikes has been a concern since the school opened on the bench area between the FedEx facility and the Roaring Fork River in 2017.

The driveway entrance to the school is not conducive for a direct bike/pedestrian path, and school and county officials have wanted to maintain as much vehicle and pedestrian separation as possible, Gatlin said.

After the school’s first year, the trail connection to the Rio Grande near Orrison was constructed to help with access, but the missing link has remained between Riverview and the areas across the river.

School district officials have also proposed some significant intersection improvements at the busy Highway 82/County Road 154 turnoff, possibly involving a grade-separated highway and Rio Grande Trail crossing.

That option is still on the table, but likely several years down the road and subject to significant funding commitments, Gatlin said.

Gatlin said construction on the new Westbank trail connection could begin this spring, and be ready for use by next school year.

jstroud@postindependent.com

Roaring Fork Schools board asked to add its voice to Glenwood quarry fight

Student safety could be compromised by the expansion of the limestone quarry on Transfer Trail, the Glenwood Springs Citizens Alliance says in a request to have the Roaring Fork School District board weigh in on the issue.

Two factors in particular could negatively impact students — conflicts with school bus routes and poor air quality, members of the Citizens Alliance said in presenting their arguments to the school board at its meeting in Carbondale on Wednesday night.

The group formally asked the school board to consider and approve a resolution opposing the quarry expansion. The board tabled the discussion until it can have actual resolution language to consider, along with a recommendation from school district staff on the matter.

“As we have continued to be a voice in the community on this issue, more and more groups are recognizing the importance of taking a position,” Citizens Alliance Executive Director Jeff Peterson said.

Along with the Glenwood Springs City Council, town and city councils from Rifle to Aspen have all approved resolutions supporting the Citizens Alliance in its efforts to oppose RMR Industrials’ plan to greatly expand the Mid-Continent limestone quarry just north of Glenwood.

The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association has also taken a position against the quarry expansion. Peterson said it made sense to approach the school board, with two key impacts in mind — bus route safety and air quality associated with dust emissions.

RMR’s plan, which is being reviewed by the Bureau of Land Management, calls for hauling crushed rock by truck from the mine, down Transfer and Traver Trail roads to U.S. 6 and the rail load-out on Devereux Road.

Those estimated 320 to 450 haul trips per day “would overlap with and cross the many school bus routes that travel east and west along Highway 6 in Glenwood Springs, and to and from the Glenwood Springs Middle School,” the GCA said in a written proposal to the school board.

“In addition, students living in the Oasis Creek neighborhood who might wish to walk to or from the bus stop at the intersection of Traver Trail and Highway 6 would be subjected to high levels of truck traffic for nearly a half-mile along Traver Trail.”

That’s a safety issue for motorists, school buses, cyclists and pedestrians, according to the GCA.

Likewise, children are at risk of negative health impacts from particulate matter that typically comes from quarry operations, the GCA said.

“The Roaring Fork School District operates three schools within two miles of the quarry site — Glenwood Springs Elementary, Middle and High schools.

“Significant increases in airborne particulate matter over a 20-year period would pose serious dangers to the health of students, faculty and staff at these schools,” the GCA said in its pitch to the school board.

The quarry is currently operating under a Garfield County permit at a production level of 100,000 tons of rock. RMR proposes mining 5 million tons of rock per year for 20 years, according to the plan being evaluated by the BLM.

Peterson added that the quarry operation could also result in a decrease in property valuations. That, too, could have an impact on school district tax funding, he said.

jstroud@postindependent.com

Fulbright scholar from Germany chooses CMC-Spring Valley for study semester abroad

For Fulbright Scholar Luise Wollesen, traveling to the United States from her native Germany to study at Colorado Mountain College–Spring Valley during the fall semester was “the best decision of my life.”

The 22-year-old from Hamburg, Germany, is a recent graduate of the Business School Potsdam Campus Hamburg. With a bachelor’s degree in business psychology, she plans to attend graduate school in Germany in the future.

Between degrees, Wollesen was looking for a new academic perspective.

Wollesen is interested in pursuing her master’s degree in international business and sustainability, and was attracted by CMC’s sustainability leadership certificate program.

“I want to learn how to make people care and be aware,” Wollesen said. “My classes at CMC connected fostering sustainable behavior.”

Coming ‘home’ to Glenwood

Wollesen came to CMC Spring Valley at Glenwood Springs through the competitive German-American Fulbright Program.

Once selected, a limited number of German bachelor’s degree graduates receive scholarships to study in the U.S. As one of numerous divisions of the Fulbright Scholar Program, the program also provides scholarships to American students to teach or research in Germany.

Glenwood Springs is familiar territory for Wolleson. She was an exchange student at Glenwood Springs High School during her junior year in 2013-14.

Wollesen’s Fulbright Scholar application included listing the top five American colleges she’d consider attending.

CMC-Spring Valley was high on her list, partly because the faculty and curriculum of CMC’s sustainability studies program piqued her interest. She also learned that, unlike course credits earned at other colleges, her CMC credits would transfer to a master’s program in Germany. 

Elevated experiences

Living in Glenwood Springs with her host family, Paul and Cali Gonzales and their two sons, Wollesen took five classes during the fall semester, ranging from Sustainable Business to Ecology & Sustainability.

Kevin Hillmer-Pegram, associate professor of sustainability studies, taught three of those classes.

“The sustainability studies program is always seeking ways to enhance the learning environment of our students,” he said. “Adding a Fulbright Scholar to the classroom mix definitely achieved this goal.

“Despite being exceptionally humble and friendly, Luise contributed a level of scholarly rigor and professional excellence that elevated everyone’s experience.”

Fulbright Scholar Luise Wollesen from Hamburg, Germany, spent fall semester studying sustainability leadership at Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley at Glenwood Springs. Kevin Hillmer-Pegram, associate professor of sustainability studies, right, taught three of her five classes. (Stephanie Stocking photo)
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Wollesen said her involvement in the campus’s sustainability club demonstrated to her that each person can make a positive difference through small actions like reusing wrapping paper and using compost instead of fertilizer.

Wollesen also ventured out of the Roaring Fork Valley, attending a three-day German American conference at Harvard, where she shared her learning experiences at CMC with other scholars.

Flying over Colorado in a small Cessna with EcoFlight was another highlight, she said. EcoFlight, a nonprofit environmental aviation organization, takes students on multi-day flights to see and study areas of the American west.

“I’m evolving as a person through this experience,” she said. “I have such a wider perspective now.”

Hillmer-Pegram added that CMC’s sustainability studies program now wants to send its own Fulbright Scholar abroad “who can share our culture of transformative change with another part of the world.”


This story was based on a feature release from the Colorado Mountain College Public Information Office.

Re-2 Choir students honored

The hard work is over – or maybe it’s just beginning – for five Garfield Re-2 high school students who earned Colorado All-State Choir honors.

David Bahena and Lance Fullenwider from Coal Ridge High School, and Erynn McCathern, Jordan Kennedy and Karisa Coombs from Rifle High School will all travel to Denver in February for the All-State Choir performance at the Buell Theater.

“The auditions are over,” said Jordan, who is returning to the All-State choir in the mixed choir after participating in the ladies All-State choir as a junior. “Now, we need to learn our all-state music. I would tell people that are new to all-state, keep an open mind and just try to connect with the people around you. It’s really cool and it’s easy to connect with people that you don’t even know when you’re singing with them. That’s the best part of it.”

But it’s not quite so simple.

“It is a very great honor to be recognized for their self-motivation, hard work to hone their musical talent,” explained Coal Ridge Choir Director Nancy Beyea. “Their work lies ahead for them.”

Beyea explained that all of the All-State choir members must memorize six songs, attend a first audition where they are evaluated by a judge on any song in their repertoire for this event. If they are well prepared, they can be removed from the honor of participating. 

The work to earn an All-State Choir designation is just as rigorous.

“It is so difficult to get in,” added David who is also returning to the choir for a second time. “You have to practice your piece and your scales. I practiced my scales early on for about five minutes every day so that when the time came as part of the audition, they were easy.”

Scales are just part of the audition process. Students can achieve a total score of 100 points as part of their all-state audition. Students must perform a musical solo, typically a classical or folk song. Judges look for tone quality, singing in tune, the accuracy of the notes and rhythms, diction and musicality — the vocal dynamics, sensitivity to text and articulation to convey the appropriate meaning. The solo is worth a total of 50 points. Students can also receive 50 points for their technical skills, including melodic and rhythmic sight-reading. Only juniors and seniors can audition for all-state. 

Rifle High School Choir Director Daryl Gingrich said it is an honor for a school to have even one student make it to all-state. 

Coal Ridge High School All-State participants Lance Fullenwider and David Bahena.
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“It is a great process, if a student wants it they can go for it. It also is very challenging. I have had many fabulous students audition and not make it,” he explained. “I have been blessed to have a student make all-state for the past 16 years.  I feel blessed just to have one student make the choir. Many schools do not even have a student make it.”

Ultimately, he added, the process makes each high school choir better as individual singers work for their goals, it lifts up the group.

For all of these high school vocalists, music is a passion and across the board, they are excited to be a part of a large group of vocalists with the same passion, musical education and focus on the finer skills.

“Being extremely passionate about music for such a long time and knowing that all-state is kind of an end goal keeps you going,” explained McCathryn of the extra time and hours that she and her peers have put into their auditions. “You’ve worked all these years to get to this level.  I’ve been waiting since my freshman year to audition for this.”

Students will perform the “balcony sing” at the Embassy Suites on Feb. 21, and then perform at the Buell Theater on Feb. 22. 

Outdoor Careers Internship open to Coal Ridge and Rifle High School students

From organic farming to trail building, the Outdoor Careers Internship will give local high school students the opportunity to get their hands dirty this spring.

Provided by Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers with funding from Great Outdoors Colorado and Garfield County Outdoors, the internship – now in its second year – will run for 10 weeks.

“We have structured this very intentionally where we are offering the internship on the day when students are not in session,” Ben Sherman, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers education director, said.

Between Feb. 21 and May 8, interns will spend their Fridays working with, and learning alongside members of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Fat City Farmers and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers.

For over 50 years, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies has provided environmental education to the region. Additionally, since 2006, Fat City Farmers has taught food education in the Roaring Fork Valley by fostering gardens and greenhouses at area schools.

“With just three organizations we thought we were covering a great breadth of interest that a lot our students have had in the past,” Sherman said.

The third organization – Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers – like the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and Fat City Farmers also promotes stewardship of public lands through trail and other restoration projects.

“Students really get a taste of what some of these outdoor focused careers might be like,” Sherman said.

Each semester, the Outdoor Careers Internship accepts students from different area schools.

Only Coal Ridge and Rifle High School students between the ages of 15 and 19 may apply for this spring’s Outdoor Careers Internship.

“We do have many more applications than we have spots,” Sherman said. “The reason that we have kept it so small is we really want to have a focus on all of those students that are accepted.”

For application details, email Ben Sherman at bsherman@rfov.org

The Outdoor Careers Internship pays $11.10 an hour and interested students have until Jan. 22 to complete their application for consideration.

mabennett@postindependent.com