Graduating Rifle High School Bears ready to roam free |

Graduating Rifle High School Bears ready to roam free

“Be Rifle Bears wherever you go,” Rifle High School commencement speaker Kyle Mickelson told the graduating class of 2019 on Saturday. “You’re Bear strong for life.”

After spending the past four years together at sporting events, classes, proms, tests and everything in between, the Rifle High School class of 2019 graduated just after noon on Saturday.

Despite any differences they may have had or challenges they experienced along the way, their last time together was a celebration shared with parents, teachers and fellow classmates that may have helped them get there.

Principal John Arledge gave the welcome address, as the day not only marked the last at RHS for the seniors, but the conclusion of his first year at the school.

He thanked the teachers and staff at the high school and said each proved to be an integral part of every student’s journey.

Mickelson, a social studies teacher at Rifle High, has spent the past four years watching this year’s senior class grow, and in some cases longer.

“A lot of us go back to middle school,” Mickelson said. “It’s been a privilege to be part of your education journey.”

He said he’s had four years of tremendous stories he will keep with him for the rest of his life.

“You have made your families proud and shown you can finish what you started,” he added.

He also gave shoutouts to all the students who joined a club, took a Colorado Mountain College class, traveled for school events and more, as the students were asked to stand with their classmates.

Valedictorian Ashley Manera started her address in an unconventional way on Saturday. She immediately gave the microphone to fellow classmate Luis Vera, the class’s salutatorian.

“Luis and I have spent all four years in every class together,” she said. Both graduated with Academic Golden Bear honors as well as International Baccalaureate diplomas.

“Thanks to everyone who has shown us love from afar and [helped us] make it here today,” Manera added.

She said she’s terrified of what the future may hold, as she doesn’t have “2020” vision, or even knows what exactly the year 2020 will look like. But she said she’s proud of the memories she has shared with her classmates.

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