‘Dare to be different’ offered to Bridges High School graduates | PostIndependent.com

‘Dare to be different’ offered to Bridges High School graduates

Bridges High School Valedictorians Adele Craft, left, and Samantha Hankinson are recognized during the class of 2017 commencement ceremony on Friday evening at The Orchard.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

One of a handful of Bridges students who chose the alternative high school in Carbondale from the start of her freshman year, Adele Craft said she heard all kinds of comments that summer beforehand.

“Oh, what happened to you? … like there had to be something wrong with me,” she recounted in addressing her Bridges High School class of 2017 Friday at the Orchard Church.

“That’s the school with the bars on the windows, right … filled with dangerous people unfit for other schools?”

Wrong, said the Bridges co-valedictorian who is graduating concurrently this spring from both Bridges and with an associates degree from Colorado Mountain College.

“At Bridges, I found a group of friends I will cherish for the rest of my life; my travel, adventure and intellectual companions,” Craft said.

“The quality of relationships I found with the teachers was also not something I would have found at any other school,” she said, referring to Bridges as a “life school.”

“Dare to be different,” Craft offered her fellow graduates. “Because, after all, that’s the reason we all ended up here. Dare to ask questions, be curious, push the boundaries and do something amazing.”

Craft was one of three valedictorians this year, a first for Bridges.

The others were Samantha Hankinson and Hannah Hayden, who gave special recognition to retiring Bridges teacher and commencement speaker Ronnda Kuhr.

Kuhr talked about the choices, chances and changes that guided her life path and urged the graduates to keep the “three Cs” forefront in their own separate journeys.

“The thing to remember is choices can and should be changed when necessary,” Kuhr said. “If you want a different result, make a different choice.”

Some of the biggest regrets in life are the choices, chances and changes not made, she offered.

“Whether we’re graduating or retiring, we need to keep taking chances, keep making the challenging choices, and accept the changes,” Kuhr said. “I challenge you to avoid regret, and don’t miss out. Go, try, do.”

Bridges graduates were also awarded a total of $542,000 worth of scholarships this year for post-secondary education opportunities.

And a moment of silence recognized “those who could not be here,” in the words of 2012 Bridges graduate Mauricio Ruiz, brother of Ayleen Ruiz Alvarado, a junior student who was killed in a tragic car accident in May.

The Bridges graduation was the first of four Roaring Fork School District high school graduations this weekend. Glenwood Springs High School graduates turn their tassels at 10 a.m. today, followed by Basalt High School at 11 a.m. and Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale at 1 p.m.

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