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Rifle grads set their sights on tomorrow

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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RIFLE May 20, 2007, will forever be a special day for 174 Rifle High School students. On Sunday, they turned their tassels as part of the rite of passage known as high school graduation.The day was cool under cloudy skies with a warm sun shining down from time to time. The crowd of more than 850 – parents, grandparents, family and friends from Rifle and elsewhere – gathered in the bleachers of Bears Stadium to witness the students reach this milestone.The picturesque mountains to the south of the stadium and the majestic Roan Plateau just off to the west stood watch over the students, a last reminder of exactly where they came from and who they are.The Rifle Bears.For these students, high school is over. They’ve received their diplomas and now prepare to enter the world, all taking with them the Bear pride they’ve developed as a class of RHS.Watch out world, the Bears are on the loose.

One word epitomizes the story of the ceremony, these students’ senior year and the RHS class of 2007: “unity.”That could be the whole story.The Class of 2007 has been unified for four long years and created some lasting friendships that will take them far into the future, according to one of RHS’s valedictorians, Graham Riddile.Riddile said it best during his speech to his class: “Unity, it’s how we’re recognized by our peers, it’s how we were defined by our actions.”Riddile spoke about the diverse background from which the Class of 2007 was constructed and illustrated how, through the four years at RHS, these diverse individuals came together to become the Rifle Bears.”Out of one can be many, out of many can be one,” Riddile said.

The students agreed in cheers. But change is on the horizon. And on Monday, the sun will rise on the rest of their lives, and that unified class will scatter in 174 different directions. Unity disrupted but not defeated – they will forever be the Class of 2007.Jenna Withee, the school’s other valedictorian, touched on the same topic in her speech.”This is the day, and you are the class,” she said. “We really were a great class that came from different places and came together at Rifle High School.”That unity will serve as the foundation for whatever these young adults strive for tomorrow.RHS science teacher Anthony Rossilli gave the commencement address to the class and said that it’s important not to forget the friendships that were created during high school.”You don’t have to lose these friendships,” Rossilli said. “There is nothing more important in life than the time spent with family and friends.”



Sunday’s ceremony presented another unique aspect for RHS and another ending of an era, so to speak. This is the last time that RHS will have Garfield School District Re-2’s only commencement exercises. Next year marks the first graduating class from Coal Ridge High School in New Castle.But this day was all Bears. Nothing more and nothing less.As the ceremony wound down, RHS senior class president Carol Ann Kreimier led her class in the “Turning of the Tassels.””Join me in turning the tassel from left to right to signify the passage from student to graduate,” Kreimier said. “And may you take your life shaken, not stirred.”Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.com


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