Outta here!

Phil Sandoval
Post Independent Staff

Each graduating high school class has its own distinction. The 2003 grads of Glenwood Springs have set the standard for future classes and have the numbers to back their claim to fame.

Principal Mike Wells’ voice dripped with pride as he bade farewell to the newly-graduated senior class at Saturday’s annual commencement ceremony at Stubler Memorial Field.

“This is the highest-achieving class in our history,” Wells said. “The 2003 class has raised the bar and has become the standard for all future classes to follow.”

According to dollar figures provided by the high school, the 2003 graduating class had accumulated more than $189,000 in scholarship money.

Wells said that 114 of the 151 graduates will attend college in the fall.

And in four years of high school, the 2003 class had left their mark in many diverse categories – both in academics and athletics.

The principal noted, to the overflow crowd, that the 2003 scholarship money total and the number of class valedictorians were both the highest in school history.

Additionally, the senior class had earned Colorado state championships in mock trial, DECA, track and field and cheerleading.

Julius Satterfield, the commencement’s featured speaker and an English and music teacher at the high school, summed up the senior class as having a “beautiful image whose impressions will last a long time.”

Such images were sprinkled throughout the comments of all six of the class valedictorians during their speeches.

Subjects among the six valedictorians ranged from dance to music to quoting the Bible. All six speakers stressed to their classmates to take charge of their lives.

Chelsea Strautman, who will be attending the University of San Diego, said to “step out of our comfort zones and have the willingness to try something different and experience new things.”

Marco Salmen, a member of GSHS’ Mock Trial team, stressed the need to ask questions as he raised his hand to emphasize his point.

“Questions lead to understanding and compassion,” he said. “Silence is ignorance, and you should put a little cross-examining in your lives.”

Matt Young, who will be attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, equated life as a journey.

“The true joy of life is the trip. Life must be lived as we go along,” he said. “And the journey is not over.”

A great day coupled with reflection and looking ahead: Those were the themes that kept repeating themselves throughout Rifle High School’s annual commencement program on the school’s football field Saturday.

Re-2 superintendent Gary Pack touched on both in his opening remarks to the 159 graduating members of the senior class.

Pack congratulated the seniors and their parents “for a job well done.” The superintendent then challenged the graduates to “take sole custody of your life and to make the best of it.”

And the newly-graduated seniors appear to be ready to take the next step.

According to high school records, the 2003 class has accumulated more than $100,000 in scholarship money, much of which is renewable on a yearly basis.

Guest speaker Mike Smith stressed to the graduates to “move confidently in the direction of your dreams.”

“Find out what your dream is and be committed,” he said.

Senior class valedictorian, Leah Silvieus, challenged her classmates to work toward a brighter future.

“Your hopes, dreams and aspirations are a reason for living,” she said. “Now it’s time to choose to stand or fall.”

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