Glenwood Springs High School’s largest graduating class in school history celebrates with love, laughter and Biggie Smalls advice |

Glenwood Springs High School’s largest graduating class in school history celebrates with love, laughter and Biggie Smalls advice

The Glenwood Springs High School class of 2019 poses for a class photo prior to the graduation ceremony.
Post Independent file photo

Glenwood Springs High School celebrated its largest graduating class in school history Saturday as it awarded 220 diplomas.

Wearing red and white cap and gowns, the graduates received a standing ovation from family and friends in the packed bleachers as they filed onto the school’s football field.

“When you were young you were told not to trust strangers. Now that you are grown you don’t have to view the stranger as a threat. The stranger is now an opportunity,” Glenwood Springs High School Social Studies Teacher Garrett Peters said as he fought back tears during his commencement address to students. “We must stop looking upon the different with hate and fear and start seeing it with eyes of intrigue and possibility.”

Peters, who recited the beginning portion of his speech in Spanish, was selected specifically by the class of 2019 to deliver the commencement address.

Senior Class President Sierra McKinney said that in order to prepare for her farewell statements to classmates, she watched videos of Oprah Winfrey’s own commencement speeches.

“I watched her speech and it inspired me to do something special, something generous – something to channel my inner Oprah. So would every graduate please look under your seats,” McKinney explained as graduates began wondering what exactly was about to happen. “There you will find nothing. This best represents your inevitable future for the next four years. You will have no money, no free time and no happiness,” McKinney said to laughter.

“But, I need to take a positive spin on things. The Notorious B.I.G. once said ‘Mo money mo problems,’” McKinney said referencing one of the late American Rapper’s hit songs from his album “Life After Death.”

From tears of joy to tears of laughter, Glenwood Springs High School’s commencement ceremony showcased optimism, realism, plenty of humor and was a particularly proud moment for Valedictorian Isabelle Lorah.

“I hope you are all so proud of your work over the last four years,” Lorah said as she looked at her classmates from the podium. “Whether you worked hard to learn English as a second language, spent your nights helping younger siblings or had to treat the leukemia you were diagnosed with in elementary school, you fought your battles and now you’re here today.”

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