Graduating seniors share appreciation for Bridges High School, plan for what’s next |

Graduating seniors share appreciation for Bridges High School, plan for what’s next

Bridges High School graduating senior Grace Wesseling hangs out with her friend Bailey Griebel outside of the school in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.

“I just really like animals,” Wesseling said. “… I have seven cats, two dogs and four ferrets. … Well, one of our cats had kittens and my brothers wanted to keep one, and I have two brothers, so they each kept one and I kept one. And then, I don’t know where the other ones came from, if I’m being honest. They kind of just showed up.”

During her time at Bridges, which started her junior year after transferring from Glenwood Springs High School, Wesseling said English became her favorite subject and her favorite teacher was Mr. Carballera, or “Carb,” the name his students address him by.

“I had him my senior and junior year, he’s also my crew teacher. … Transitioning over to Bridges my attendance was phenomenal … and I just felt more secure there because there weren’t as many people,” Wesseling said.

She’s a base, or the cheerleader you’ll see at the bottom of a stunt or pyramid, and a tumbler for the Grand Valley All Stars, a competitive cheerleading league based out of Glenwood. Wesseling said she doesn’t have a specific favorite stunt to perform, but the reward of working up to being a tumbler motivates her to continue pursuing her goals.

“Being able to tumble is a lot of fun because it takes a lot of work. Once you’re able to actually do something correctly and you land it, it’s like a really good feeling,” Wesseling said. “I feel like it’s made me a competitive person outside of cheer, so I work for what I want.”

Wesseling and her family are big on all things outdoors and enjoy going dirt biking together, although her mother will occasionally opt for a four-wheeler instead. On her last day of high school, Wesseling said, she and her brothers planned to drive out to Harvey Gap Reservoir to celebrate. As for what’s next, Wesseling said she plans to eventually move to Wyoming with her boyfriend for a fresh start, and begin looking into programs to become a veterinary technician.

“He has a lot of family out there, and we took a trip out there a few weeks ago and I just fell in love with it. … I know a lot of people here and I don’t know anyone out there, so it’s sort of like starting new,” Wesseling said.

For younger students who feel like their current high school isn’t the right fit, Wesseling said it’s worth it to do the research on Bridges and see if that may be a better opportunity for them.

“Definitely look into it. The people there, everyone is so different, but you just feel like you belong there. … Everyone’s there just because they need to be there. And they’re just glad to have that second chance, so they’re really there for themselves,” Wesseling said.

‘She’s very proud of me, she knows how far I’ve come’

Bridges High School graduating senior Arleth Hermosillo spends time with her family at Sopris Park in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Bridges High School Senior, Arleth Hermosillo, described the school’s culture as being drama-free, something she noticed when she first transferred there her junior year.

“It’s a second opportunity for a lot of people like me and I’m very happy with the choice I made about going to Bridges, and I’m just very blessed to have a supportive system like I do here as I do at school,” Hermosillo said.

Hermosillo said she’s very people-oriented and loves to hang out with friends and family, especially her grandma. Her grandma, who everyone calls ‘Cruz,’ is from Juarez, Mexico and will tell Hermosillo how grateful she is for her company at the grocery store or doctor’s appointments, since from her point of view young people don’t generally enjoy spending time with their grandparents.

“Well she actually yells at me a lot all the time because I do a lot of stupid things when I’m around her, because I really like to make her laugh. … I really like spending time with my grandma, not a lot of people can say that they like spending time with their grandma. … I just want to spend time with her now that I have her here,” Hermosillo said.

Part of why the graduating class of Bridges is so large this year — it’s about 35 students — is because of the pacing of the lessons and how staff is willing to accommodate students who may need a little more time to grasp a concept, Hermosillo said.

“They will take as long as you need for you to understand a certain thing, and I would say it’s a slower environment,” she said. “… the teachers will do a very good job of making sure you understand … it’s just a better environment I think.”

Currently, Hermosillo is deciding between Austin College and the University of North Carolina for where she wants to pursue a degree in interior design as a first-generation college student. She said she’s always been fascinated by the remodeling process and that when she enters a new space she will begin to rearrange things in her head and experiment with different set ups.

“I hope one day I’m able to do my mom’s place (and) do it the way she wants it to be. … She’s always talked about it … but she’s always said how she wants her house to look. The color scheme and stuff like that. When I started looking into it I was like, ‘you know what, I’m gonna do your house, this is how it’s gonna be,” Hermosillo said.

Her grandma continues to be one of her biggest supporters and is thrilled to see Hermosillo attend college and to watch what will come next for her.

“She’s very proud of me. She knows how far I’ve come. … She’s always telling me how far I’ve come, how proud she is of me,” Hermosillo said.


Reporter Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or

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