CRMS seniors keep learning until graduation and beyond | PostIndependent.com

CRMS seniors keep learning until graduation and beyond

Chyrise HarrisPost Independent Staff
Post Independent Photo/Kara K. PearsonMallory Parks waits as her older sister, Jaclyn, fixes her wreath of flowers before the start of graduation Saturday at Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale. Mallory was nervous not only because she was graduating, but also because she was speaking and singing at the ceremony.
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Not too many students who miss the last three weeks of school graduate on time.Colorado Mountain School seniors not only participated in commencement ceremonies Saturday, they left secondary school with irreplaceable learning experiences taught far beyond the classroom. While many soon-to-be graduates filled their last three weeks with prom planning and senior activities, seniors at Colorado Rocky Mountain School packed their bags and traveled to various places around the world to explore themselves and their interests in apprenticeship programs.Before receiving their diplomas Saturday, the 37 seniors from CRMS completed three-week apprenticeships in professions they wished to pursue after graduation. After three weeks, the seniors gave presentations on their experiences to faculty, teachers and peers in a set of senior projects, closing the book on four years of learning at CRMS. Its a crowning achievement, and a way to wrap up their CRMS experience, said teacher Rich Pyrczak.From volunteering in domestic violence shelters to furthering biodiesel programs in Peru, CRMS seniors chose a variety of final projects and traveled the world. Learning about others and discovering themselves, seniors worked hard and learned much before returning to campus at the base of Mount Sopris, where they received diplomas and ultimately a new sense of self, thanks to the support of parents, teachers and friends. So what did the class of 2005 learn in four years? Sure, teachers taught chemistry formulas, techniques for giving speeches and the not-so-uncommon ski and kayak lesson. But CRMS graduates came away with much more than that. They learned to be better people.Unable to place her CRMS experience into words, graduate Hannah Farrar said she learned about the human spirit.I came away with compassion, integrity and the gifts from so many people I dont think I could ever repay, Farrar said. Selected as a faculty speaker by the seniors, teacher Amanda Leahy said it was the gifts from new people and experiences that she hoped students always valued.I would hope they see life as a gift, no matter what that life brings, Leahy said. Thats something to be cherished.Whether the seniors knew it or not, they left more than just a campus on Saturday. According to headmaster Andrew Menke, they left a community of people who hope CRMS gave them a strong confidence in themselves and ability of being able to do anything they set out to do.This is such a remarkable class, Menke said.So in his final charge to students, Menke offered one lesson to the graduates of 2005: Like many of the lessons taught at CRMS, it didnt come from a textbook. Menke simply reminded his students to care, to care about themselves, each other and the community in which they live.Contact Chyrise Harris: 945-8515, ext. 511charris@postindependent.com


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