Sunshine greets 2019 Coal Ridge High School graduates
The Coal Ridge High School community filled the bleachers at the football field on a sunny Saturday morning, as the class of 2019 graduated to cheers from parents, former teachers and students.
The 2019 class included several milestones for the western Garfield County school, as it was the first class to graduate with two valedictorians.
Britney Jeanette Moreno, who graduated as an Academic Silver Titan and National Honor Society member, also spoke to her fellow classmates as the first Latina valedictorian in Coal Ridge High School history.
She said how thankful she was to her family and her classmates, who she said spent the last four years doing wonderful things.
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“I’m so thankful for every friend I made along the way,” she added.
Co-valedictorian Kara Anne Morgan expressed what a privilege it was to have such a wonderful staff at Coal Ridge.
She said it can be easy for students to take the community for granted, but today she shared the gratitude she and the rest of her classmates felt for the community and school.
Salutatorian Amanda Mcpherson was also recognized during the ceremony. She will be attending Colorado State University to study biology and one day be a veterinarian.
Students heading to the military each received thunderous applause upon receiving their diplomas, as well as the students who graduated with academic and athletic recognitions.
Coal Ridge High School Boettcher Scholarship recipient Paola Ortiz thanked everyone who supported her along the way, as she received her diploma.
The Boettcher program awards 42 scholarships each year and provides a full-ride to any Colorado college or university. Ortiz is the second Boettcher Scholar in CRHS history.
Social studies teacher Joseph Luebbe gave the class a few pointers along the way as he’s learned first-hand the challenges of moving on from life at home.
He cautioned the students against becoming complacent and, while he didn’t find his career until he was 30, the decision to move to the Western Slope and start a life in this community has been one his best decisions, he said.
“Nobody has it all figured out,” Luebbe cautioned. But he said he hopes the students will continue to build character by responding to whatever obstacles they may face.
“Pursue what you love,” he added. “Create goals to not become complacent.”
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“What’s within us is stronger than what’s in our way … ” — Erik Weihenmayer, GSHS commencement speaker