Cherishing the special times together |

Cherishing the special times together

Kelley Cox Post Independent

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Humberto Murillo was given one more assignment upon his graduation from Roaring Fork High School Saturday ” grow a pumpkin over the summer to present to Bob Olenick at the Red Rock Diner next Halloween.

Olenick presented Murillo, who is more commonly known by his nickname “Pumpkin,” with a pumpkin plant, along with a $500 scholarship.

The Red Rock Diner awards a student scholarship each year, and also hosts a morning-after breakfast for the graduates following their night-long Project Graduation party in Carbondale.

About half of the 49 members of the RFHS Class of 2009 received college scholarships this year, Principal Cliff Colia announced at the start of Saturday’s graduation ceremony in the RFHS gym.

Sixty percent of the class finished their high school education on the honor roll, and an impressive 85 percent will be going on to college or pursuing other post-secondary options, he said.

Senior class president Diego Rubio gave an emotional farewell address to his classmates.

“When my family came to Carbondale I knew I’d found a place that is special,” he told his fellow classmates, remembering special times on field trips to places like Mesa Verde and more recently their senior class camping trip to Moab.

“We enjoyed dancing together, and singing and letting time flow with the Colorado River,” he said. “Thank you for taking me as a brother, and being there for me. How proud I am of every single moment we had together.”

Class valedictorian Rianna Rollyson offered a similar message.

“We are family, so much more than just you and I as individuals,” she said. “Most of you won’t remember this speech, but you will remember our times together.”

The class invited former RFHS social studies teacher Anna Chessler Howell, whom they had as freshmen, to come from Seattle to give the commencement address.

“Challenge the known, and embrace the unknown,” Howell urged her former students. “You too have the power to make a difference in someone’s lives; you can, and you will … make your legacy a lasting one.”

The first ever RFHS Outstanding Teacher of the Year was also announced by former RFHS principal and teacher Patrick Henry.

The large cash award went to language arts teacher Lindsay Hentschel, who not only teaches but also is the faculty sponsor of the student newspaper, the Roaring Fork Rampage.

Hentschel was quick to put the spotlight back on the students who make up the Class of 2009.

“You are who make me love my job, and make me want to keep doing this,” she said.

The award was started by a group of anonymous citizens who started the new Carbondale Teachers Appreciation Fund. Henry said the hope is to expand the award in future years to include the other Carbondale schools.

Contact John Stroud: 384-9160

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