Students learn about realizing potential |

Students learn about realizing potential

Amanda Holt Miller
Western Garfield County Staff

PARACHUTE ” Clinton Haskins had a “big cup and he was filling it,” his old high school shop teacher told a crowd of Parachute middle and high school students Monday morning.

The cup represents what we’re born with, Craig Conrad told the enthralled students at Grand Valley High School.

Conrad has taught shop at Moffat County High School in Craig for more than 20 years and travels to schools throughout Colorado and Wyoming as a motivational speaker. The name of his program is “The Unstoppable You.”

GVHS and St John Middle School invited Conrad to kick off their Red Ribbon Week, which is a national drug abuse awareness and prevention week sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“The cup is our potential,” Conrad said. “But it’s up to us to fill it.”

Filling the cup is what makes someone “unstoppable,” Conrad told students. He told them to “break the chains of inhibition” and do the things they might otherwise be afraid to try.

Conrad told the tragic stories of other students like Clinton Haskins, who’s now in a federal penitentiary in Wyoming.

Haskins was filling his cup to the brim, Conrad said. He graduated from Moffat County High School in 1998. He’d played football, wrestled, walked in the homecoming parades and built one of the most famous Christmas gifts ever to come out of Conrad’s woodshop class ” a rocking motorcycle.

Haskins went to the University of Wyoming on a rodeo scholarship.

“The quickest way I know to drain your cup is drugs and alcohol,” Conrad said as he poured the blue liquid from the bigger of two cups back into a pitcher.

Conrad played a video of his trip to visit Haskins one gray day. The video featured prolonged shots of barbed-wire fences and concrete courtyards.

Then Conrad picked up the phone and let Haskins do his own talking.

“Things were going pretty well,” Haskins said through the phone from a locked room in a Wyoming prison. “I had a wonderful loving family, a great girlfriend. We were talking about getting married. I was setting goals and achieving them.”

On Sept. 16, 2001, that all changed.

Haskins spent the night drinking with friends. He decided to drive to see his girlfriend in Fort Collins.

“The last thing I remember that night is putting the truck in gear and pulling away from the curb,” Haskins said.

In his 1-ton pickup truck, Haskins drunkenly swerved over the center yellow line that night, colliding with a Jeep Wrangler.

Haskins killed eight University of Wyoming cross-country runners that night.

He was sentenced to 14-20 years.

A girl asked why Haskins ever started to drink. He explained that he was a sophomore in high school and was invited by a group of popular older kids to go to a party.

“They didn’t force me to drink,” Haskins said. “But they did influence me.”

Conrad asked one final question of Haskins ” what advice would he give the students in Parachute?

“I would encourage you all to really think hard about this. Don’t separate yourself too much from me. That’s what I used to do. Seven years ago, I was sitting right where you are now.”

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