Seniors have their day in the sun |

Seniors have their day in the sun

Post Independent Writer
Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox GSHS valedictorians present their address to the class of 2004. Left to right, Ryan Erickson, Michael Hoban, Kenneth Melby III and Audrey Schaiberger.

by Carrie Click

Post Independent Staff

One of life’s classic rites of passage took place all up and down the valley Sunday as more than 450 local students participated in high school graduation ceremonies.

Seniors from Bridges and Yampah high schools held their graduation ceremonies Friday, leaving the rest of the seniors attending Re-1 and Re-2’s four public secondary schools to officially say goodbye to their adolescence and hello to life, post-high school, on Sunday.

“I’m really excited, but I’m also a little hesitant,” said graduating Rifle High School honors student Megan McBride, who’s heading to the University of Colorado at Boulder this fall. “Everything is going to be so new from this day on. Mostly I’m excited.”

Graduation ceremonies began at noon at Glenwood Springs High School, followed by Rifle

class of 2004: see page 2

class of 2004: from page 1

High School’s ceremony at 2 p.m., Basalt High’s at 2:30 p.m., and Roaring Fork High School’s at 4:30 p.m. in Carbondale.

With temperatures in the 70s, this year’s senior class couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to graduate, even when gusts of wind caused seniors to grab for their mortarboards, a few losing theirs as they sailed off their heads.

Glenwood Springs High School’s keynote speaker, Bob Brooks, who chairs the school’s department of English, told the seniors in his commencement address that of his high school graduation 38 years ago, “I remember the weather, I remember what I was wearing, and I remember the pretty girl sitting next to me,” but that he couldn’t remember the “old geezer who gave the keynote address.

“In 20 years, you may not remember who gave your keynote address,” Brooks said, “but I do hope you will remember to dream big, work hard, give back and live your life with joy and passion.”


It was all smiles, nervousness, chatter and excitement in the gym before the Glenwood High Band started playing “Pomp and Circumstance,” and the school’s 149 seniors began filing out through the gym doors to take their places on Stubler Memorial Field.

“Woooooooo!” shouted Cody Hillin, a National Honor Society member, when asked what he felt like before the ceremony started, standing with the rest of his class in the gym, the guys wearing red caps and gowns.

“Wooooooo times two!” repeated Matt Wilson, another NHS member, laughing.

“Wooooooo times 10!” called out Jeff Screen.

GSHS senior class president and NHS member Rachel Zancanella, decked out in white like the rest of the senior girls, had a lot on her mind, working out the logistics of the senior class gift to GSHS principal Mike Wells.

Traditionally, Glenwood High’s senior class gives their principal a gift on graduation day. Because Wells is a rabid Chicago Cubs fan, the senior class this year got Wells a baseball autographed by famed Cubbie Sammy Sosa.

“We’re going to present it to him at the ceremony,” Zancanella said. “He has no idea.”

Later, when Zancanella presented the Sosa baseball to the principal, it was obvious the gift was a huge hit.

“It’s a good thing I have dark glasses on,” said Wells to the crowd, clearly taken aback by the class’s gesture.

“Go Red Sox!” yelled one of the seniors, ribbing Wells good-naturedly, as the crowd broke into cheers and laughter.

‘Super excited and reminiscent’

Later Sunday, Rifle High School’s class of 2004 was getting ready for their school band to play “Pomp and Circumstance,” as they lined up in the parking lot behind Bears Stadium where their commencement was held.

RHS’s more than 150 graduating seniors were equally as giddy and talkative as their counterparts further upvalley, the boys in blue gowns and the girls in gold.

“It’s so great to see this group of people today,” said RHS senior Hailey McDonald, who acted as a nonvoting Garfield School District student board member during high school. “We’ve achieved this goal together.”

McDonald said it seemed like the girls were “super excited” while the boys were “more reminiscent.”

Cole Manuppella, who was born and raised in Rifle, said he “is ready to get out of here,” with a smile. He’s attending Lamar Community College in the fall, to which he’s received an athletic scholarship.

“I’m ready, but I’m not,” said graduating senior Megan Lytle-Harvey. “This all seems so surreal!”

Rifle’s keynote speaker, RHS teacher Todd Ellis, made a fashion statement about the RHS graduating seniors’ attire in his commencement address.

“How can we take you seriously when you’re wearing muu-muus and pizza boxes on your heads?” Ellis said. “You know how? Because you’ve got the attitude of accomplishment. You have self-esteem, because you are educated young people – and remember, attitude is everything.”

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518



Basalt High School: Molly Williams, Poloma Torres, Gwen Leslie and Megan Petrie

Roaring Fork High School: Tarn Udall and Daniel Ives

Glenwood Springs High School: Ryan Erickson, Kenneth Melby III, Audrey Schaiberger and Michael Hoban

Rifle High School: Leslee Simms

Listings of all Re-1 and Re-2 2004 graduates will be published in the Post Independent in a forthcoming edition. Listings of all Re-1 and Re-2 2004 graduates will be published in the Post Independent in a forthcoming edition.

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