A school to call their own
An entire generation of Silt and New Castle residents added to the legacy of Rifle High School. Whether in sports, academics or life after high school, the contributions made by students from Silt and New Castle have been valuable for the high school in neighboring Rifle. Many of the children of those RHS graduates are now beginning a new legacy, not at Mom and Dad’s school, but at their own campus a little closer to home.The new Coal Ridge High School opened in Peach Valley between Silt and New Castle last week with the inaugural freshman and sophomore classes filling the halls.The Re-2 school was embraced even before the school opened, with Coal Ridge representing its school colors at events like New Castle’s Burning Mountain Festival and Silt Heyday. And why wouldn’t it be embraced?Silt and New Castle residents have been waiting almost four decades – since the controversial closure of Riverside High School in Silt in 1966 – for a school to call their own. For many years, both New Castle and Silt had their own high schools.The benefits of Coal Ridge school go well beyond the high-tech school itself. Obviously, the commute is a big issue. Having the school closer makes it easier for students to stay involved in activities, and parents have a shorter drive as well. With more school involvement comes more small-town community feelings – precisely the reason people choose to live in many of the towns on the Western Slope.Rifle High School benefits as well. The den in Rifle is literally bursting at the seams with Bears. Coal Ridge should alleviate some of this pressure and offer both schools a more intimate academic environment.Action on the athletic fields helps create high-school spirit through loyalty and establishing tradition for the Coal Ridge student body.A rivalry will undoubtedly develop between Coal Ridge and Rifle in the future. That rivalry will conjure up memories of when the Rifle Union Bears, Silt Pirates and New Castle Tigers took to the playing fields. Don’t be surprised if a Glenwood Springs-Coal Ridge rivalry also develops.Of course, it will be a while before the Titans of Coal Ridge can catch up to their neighbors in Rifle and Glenwood Springs. But you can bet, there will be a community block party when that rivalry game tilts in favor of the Titans.For now, the students and parents of Coal Ridge High School will relish having a school close to home and a school their children can call their own.
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After opposing Proposition 114, the 2020 wolf reintroduction initiative that passed by a whopping 1%, I had reservations about dressing down another budding ballot measure.